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Washington, D.C.: Why Whitman-Walker Health Is Offering Botox to HIV Patients

April 16, 2014

This article was reported by the Washington Business Journal.

The Washington Business Journal reported that Washington D.C.'s Whitman-Walker Health, a health center that specializes in HIV care, recently began offering Botox and Juvederm to its patients. The injectable fillers are used to treat HIV patients who suffer from lipodystrophy, or facial wasting. Having this ailment can cause depression in HIV patients as it can reveal their diagnosis. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services covers the cost of fillers if a patient is HIV-positive.

The health center, which some believe only treats poor HIV patients, provides many other services that are open to the general population. It offers primary care, acupuncture, Reiki, and massage. Later this year, it will offer travel medicines and vaccinations. By adding Botox to the offerings, even for cosmetic reasons, Whitman-Walker can increase its financial margins to continue to offer its services. The health center recently came out of hard financial times that forced it to lay off many employees.

Whitman-Walker has been working for several years to diversify its patient base and compete with other neighborhood clinics. Last year, the center received the status of "federally qualified health center," which provides federal funds to clinics that offer primary care on a sliding scale. It also received a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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