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Coronavirus Update:What patients and families need to know

HIV / AIDS Services

Contact number | 202-476-2519

The Washington, D.C., metro area leads the nation with the highest HIV infection rate. Children and teens are part of that story.

Children’s National's Special Immunology Services HIV/AIDS program has been around since the early 1980s, and treats the majority of HIV positive children and teens in the region. More than 25 years after we diagnosed our first patient, we can point to dramatic progress made in managing and living with HIV.

Our mission is to diagnose HIV in children early and provide optimum care for those infected. Our team includes physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, medical case managers, nutritionists, and related providers — experts in the field who care exclusively for children.

Special Immunology is a program of the Division of Infectious Diseases. The Special Immunology care team works in close partnership with specialists from several divisions at Children’s National to provide comprehensive care for HIV/AIDS patients and support for their families.

As well, Children’s National is the lead agency for the District of Columbia’s network of HIV/AIDS healthcare providers. Our partners include the District of Columbia Department of Health, HIV-specific and non-HIV specific youth health programs, area hospitals, and a host of community-based organizations.

Family-Centered Care

We recognize that HIV affects not only the children infected, but also their families. To promote a network of social support for patients and their families, Special Immunology has continued to expand the scope of what we do.

Our multidisciplinary approach to care combines inpatient and outpatient primary and specialty medical care, and social services for affected families. Assigned social workers and outreach staff work closely with families to anticipate and take care of their needs, from counseling to respite care.

Special Immunology strives to provide an atmosphere that respects the values, beliefs, and needs of those we serve while advocating for prevention, education, and comprehensive care. We work very hard to accomplish our goals, and encourage you to contact us with your concerns and questions.

Related Services

  • The Burgess Clinic - This clinic was established in 1989 to promote a supportive environment and meet the unique medical needs of adolescents infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS — a place where we can offer young patients both help and hope.
  • HIV Services Mental Health Program- Because emotional and behavioral problems are common among patients with HIV, patients are routinely screened for areas of concern, and our specialists discuss recommendations for additional care with families.

Adolescent Medicine Trials Network

Children’s National is a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN). ATN supports independent and collaborative research that emphasizes prevention and behavior change interventions targeting at-risk and HIV-infected youth.

    Children’s National is one of 14 Adolescent Medicine Trials Units (ATU) in the United States and Puerto Rico. Each ATU:

    • Enrolls and monitors participants in ATN-supported studies
    • Includes multidisciplinary, clinical staff members with HIV-care experience
    • Provides the clinical research site infrastructure to recruit ATN study participants
    • Provides guidance and counsels on the acceptability and feasibility of proposed research
    • Provides a wide array of adolescent-specific services

    ATN-supported research focuses on advancing care for infected children and young adults and promising behavioral interventions, preventive products, such as microbicides, and vaccine therapies to prevent HIV infection among at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 24.

    We carry out research in community and medical settings:

    • Primary-prevention studies in the community address behavioral, physical, and/or chemical efforts to interrupt HIV transmission in uninfected populations
    • Secondary-prevention studies in medical settings examine behavior and nutrition, along with drug and other therapies, to preserve health in HIV-infected patients  
    • Tertiary-prevention studies evaluate strategies to restore patients to full or better functioning and prevent HIV transmission to others

    On the Air

    Local NPR affiliate WAMU-FM produced a series on children and teens with HIV. Hear in the words of patients, caregivers, and community leaders how we are changing the face of HIV.

    HIV / AIDS Services Team

    • Natella Rakhmanina

      Natella Rakhmanina
      Director, HIV Services & Special Immunology
      Specialist, HIV Medicine
      Investigator, Children's National Research Institute

    • Kathleen Ferrer

      Kathleen Ferrer
      Specialist, HIV Medicine
      Hospitalist, Infectious Diseases