Mara Carter is the senior director of the Inova Juniper Program.
Each December, we recognize HIV/AIDS Awareness Month as an opportunity to move toward ending the HIV epidemic, speak out against HIV stigma and support those living with an HIV diagnosis.
Inova Health System strives year-round to meet the needs of those living with HIV. Through the Inova Juniper Program, we are the largest provider of all-inclusive prevention, diagnosis, education and treatment services for people living with or at risk of contracting HIV in Northern Virginia. At any given time, we provide services for about 1,800 patients.
Our services are funded by the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grant. As a Ryan White-funded program, we work closely with local health departments, referring providers and community organizations to provide comprehensive, targeted HIV care.
Targeted, Full-Spectrum HIV Care
People living with HIV deal with a range of health concerns unrelated to an HIV diagnosis, including common conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. But an HIV diagnosis affects your overall medical care, and it’s important to see a provider who understands your unique needs. At the Inova Juniper Program, our primary care providers have specific expertise in HIV/AIDS and understand how to help you live your healthiest life with HIV.
We provide comprehensive health services for patients who are HIV-positive or at a higher risk of contracting HIV, including:
- Primary care from specially trained HIV/AIDS providers
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP)
- Dental care
- Infectious disease specialty care
- Mental health and substance abuse services
- Nutrition counseling
- Referrals to additional specialists, such as OB/GYNs or gastroenterologists, as needed
As part of the largest health system in Northern Virginia, we can also provide quick care coordination and access to specialists when needed. Inova uses centralized electronic health records, so no matter which of our sites you visit, your provider has access to your medical chart and health history. This record sharing increases the quality of our care and reduces the chances of repeat testing or unnecessary services.
HIV Support Services, Testing and Resources
We believe in a holistic approach to HIV care, accounting for all the factors that affect your overall health. To help you live your healthiest life, the Inova Juniper Program also offers access to an extensive range of resources not typically offered in primary care clinics, including mental health counseling, support groups and assistance with food security to people living with HIV.
We also believe that no patient should be financially hindered in accessing our services. We offer copay assistance, medication assistance and other financial resources to help you get the care you need, regardless of your financial status.
Our program provides a wide variety of supportive services and resources, including:
- Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Resources and Linkage for Individuals Experiencing Incarceration (C.H.A.R.L.I): This service provides support and resources to help individuals who were previously incarcerated reacclimate to society. We provide medical care, budgeting seminars and resume building resources to help people reintegrate into daily life.
- HIV support groups: Mental health and substance abuse specialists within the Juniper Program host support groups that invite people living with HIV to connect with each other. These groups are a safe environment to share experiences and resources with others who have similar backgrounds. Some specific examples include a C.H.A.R.L.I. support group; the Gay Men’s Health Collaborative for gay, bisexual and transgender people; and groups for those with a history of substance abuse. Learn more about our support groups.
- HIV testing: We offer free HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing at all Juniper Program locations by appointment. We also partner with local health departments, universities and other community organizations to hold free testing events throughout Northern Virginia. People who test positive for HIV may schedule follow-up care through the Juniper Program.
- Positive Links Program: This interactive app helps you monitor and manage your HIV medical care and connect to community support. This resource is available at no cost to all Juniper patients.
HIV Prevention and Education
Our team does significant work to educate our community on HIV prevention. We collaborate with our colleagues in primary care offices, hospitals, local health departments and universities to increase HIV awareness and boost prevention efforts.
Our experts also hold trainings to ensure our community partners understand best practices for HIV testing, prevention and treatment. These efforts help reinforce our established referral processes so that people with HIV get timely access to the targeted services of the Juniper Program. Together, we are raising awareness and improving HIV care in our community.
Learn more about the HIV/AIDS services available through the Inova Juniper Program or schedule a free HIV/STI test by calling a Juniper location near you.