FAQ AND PATIENT RESOURCES
Answers to frequently asked questions and helpful resources for our patients.
It’s important to us that every patient feels informed about their care, diagnosis and healthcare needs. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of resources and frequently asked questions so you can get some more useful information at a glance! If you have any additional questions or concerns, existing patients are encouraged to contact their doctor directly through the patient portal. New or prospective patients are welcome to give us a call at 202-525-5175 to learn more.
Hepatitis is a condition that results in the inflammation of the liver. When the liver becomes inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, certain medications and some medical conditions can all cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often the result of a virus. In the United States, the most common hepatitis viruses are hepatitus A virus, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis B and C are two infections that are known to be silent killers because patients often don’t develop noticeable symptoms until the condition is already advanced. At Washington Health Institute, we have the outstanding expertise needed to test and treat people with viral hepatitis. An incredible 98% of the patients we’ve treated for Hepatitis C are cured!
If you believe you may have been exposed to hepatitis, speak with your doctor about getting tested today. You can find more information about Hepatitis risks, symptoms and treatment here.
Who is at risk for hepatitis C?
The following people may be at an increased risk of contracting hepatitis C:
- People born between 1945-1965
- Current or former injection drug users
- Recipients of blood transfusions or organ transplants prior to 1992
- Those on hemodialysis
- People with HIV
- Individual who received body piercings or tattoos with non-sterile instruments
For more information on hepatitis, see the CDC FAQ on Hepatitis C.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a system of medications for those at very high risk of contracting HIV to help lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada, is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual partner who is either HIV-positive or also at high risk. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV when used as prescribed.
For more information on PrEP, see the CDC page on PrEP.
PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. Similar to PrEP, PEP is a system of medications given to those at risk of contracting HIV. However, while PrEP is intended for use prior to being exposed to HIV, PEP is a system of medications for those who have potentially already been exposed in order to prevent infection.
PEP must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV, but the sooner you start PEP, the better. Every hour counts. If you are prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it once or twice daily for 28 days, as prescribed by your doctor for maximum effectiveness. PEP can be effective in preventing HIV when started quickly and administered correctly, but there is no guarantee.
For more information on PEP, see the CDC page on PEP.
Although there is currently no cure for HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help keep you healthy for many years. The goal of ART is to reach undetectable status, meaning that, while you are still HIV-positive, you are unable to transmit HIV to others. This is known as U=U, or undetectable = untransmittable.
We encourage you to speak with your partner about getting tested. Your doctor or social worker can help facilitate this conversation if you are in need of support.
For more information on living with HIV, see the CDC page on living with HIV.
Washington Health Institute offers convenient, on-site phlebotomy services through our partnership with Labcorp. We accept walk-ins until 3:30PM.
Existing patients can pay their bill through our Patient Support Portal. This is also where you can send direct messages to your doctor for assistance and information.
If you’d like to attend our peer support group, you’ll want to first speak with a social worker for more information. You can give us a call at 202-525-5175 and request to speak with a social worker to hear more, or simply request to speak with a social worker at your next visit.
Our case managers and social workers are here daily to assist with patient needs and questions. In order to be enrolled in the Medical Case Management program, you will need to complete an assessment and intake with a social worker and must provide proof of income and residency.
If you have experienced a qualifying life event, you may be eligible to sign up for insurance through DC Health Link or Maryland Health Connection. On these insurance providers’ websites, you can view and compare plans and see if you are eligible for Medicaid.
If you are living with HIV and have experienced a job loss, you may be eligible for insurance premium assistance if your annual income is up to 500% of the Federal Poverty Level. For example, around $60,000 for a household size of one.
For assistance with insurance and medication coverage, call Washington Health Institute at 202-525-5175 and request to speak with a social worker or case manager.
If you’d like to get involved in Washington Health Institute’s clinical trials, give our office a call at 202-525-5175 and request to speak with our Research Administrator. You may also inform any staff member at your next visit that you would like to learn more about our clinical trials and get involved.
HELPFUL LINKS & RESOURCES
DC Crime Victim Hotline
DC Department of Aging Information & Referral/Assistance Hotline
DC Department of Behavioral Health Access Helpline
DC Homeless Services – Shelter Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Trans Lifeline Peer Support Service
Trevor Project – LGBTQ Youth Crisis Hotline
Call 866-488-7386 or text “TREVOR” to 202-304-1200
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
DC AIDS Drug Assistance Program
DC, Maryland, Virginia Area PrEP Drug Assistance Program
Gilead Advancing Access Patient Assistance Program
(For uninsured patients)
Gilead Co-pay Coupon Card
(For patients with commercial insurance)
Janssen Patient Assistance Program
Maryland AIDS Drug Assistance Program
Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) Co-Pay Relief Program