About the Center

Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES)

The University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES) is a family-centered, comprehensive health care provider for HIV-infected or exposed infants, children, adolescents, women and their families, including their partners. Affiliated with the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, The UF Center provides a full array of patient care services, including screening, counseling, medical care, medical case management, health education, nutrition and dietary evaluation, pharmacist assistance and social services.

The mission of UF CARES is to enhance the quality of life of children, adolescents and families affected by HIV by providing compassionate, comprehensive care. In addition, The UF Center strives to increase awareness and understanding of HIV through leadership, service and education, with the ultimate goal of decreasing the transmission of HIV.

For additional information about UF CARES, please see our education, patient care and research pages.


The UF Center began providing medical care for children in 1988. Over the next two years the growing need for additional HIV/AIDS research became apparent. In 1990, The UF Center established a four-year partnership with the National Cancer Institute in order to participate in clinical research trials. During this partnership, the center explored the barriers children face in finding, receiving and maintaining health care. This led to the center's current comprehensive approach to care, providing "one stop" complete care for patients.

In 1993, the center became a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trial Unit. In 1995 and again in 1999, the center received an "Excellence in Health Care Award" for its success as an HIV/AIDS program. The center continued to grow and in 1997 moved to the newly renovated clinic space it currently resides in at UF Health Jacksonville. In this same year, the center expanded its scope to a family-centered, comprehensive health care provider for HIV/AIDS infected or exposed infants, children, adolescents, women and their families.


Expanded Testing Initiative (ETI) Program

A CDC prevention program that supports HIV testing, counseling and referral efforts. UF CARES provides over 2400 free, confidential rapid HIV testing to individuals across the Jacksonville community and provides significant education and information on how to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

Hepatitis B Program

UF CARES is part of a multicenter CDC effort to better understand the prevalence of hepatitis B infection. The program will provide for community outreach events to test at least 2,000 Jacksonville residents born outside of the United States and provide free testing, education, referral and linkage to care.

Ryan White Service Provider

In partnership with the city of Jacksonville’s HIV Health Services Planning Council as Part A Medical Provider and HRSA Part C & Part D Grantee (Early Intervention Services and Services for Women, Infants, Youth, Children and Families).

SAMHSA Expansion Program for Substance Abuse Treatment

In partnership with Gateway Community Services and other local agencies, this program will facilitate the development and expansion of community-based treatment systems for substance use and mental disorders within racial and ethnic minorities. Collaborating agencies will ensure that individuals who are at high risk for or have a substance use and mental disorder and who are most at-risk for or are living with HIV/AIDS, have access to and receive appropriate behavioral health services.

Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS)

A partnership between UF CARES and River Region Human Services to develop a model for providing a medical home for the HIV-infected homeless population. The PATH Home Project (Partnership for Access to Treatment and Housing Model) will link patients to mental health, substance abuse treatment and HIV/AIDS primary care services all in one location.

Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act (TOPWA) Program

The Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act (T.O.P.W.A.) is a program designed to reach high-risk pregnant women or HIV-infected pregnant women who are not receiving services to prevent transmission of the HIV virus to infants. The program provides services to high risk pregnant women through linkage and referrals. The goal of the T.O.P.W.A. program is to prevent women infected with HIV from infecting their babies. This program is eligible to all women of childbearing age, even those without documented citizenship.

Services include:

  • Free pregnancy and HIV Testing
  • Help getting substance abuse treatment
  • Help getting family planning services
  • Education and support
  • Assist with Medicaid enrollment
  • Free bus passes
  • Help with HIV medications and proper medical care