Desert AIDS Walk, October 19, 2019 - Register Today!

Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Monday - Friday

Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Mon - Fri

About DAP

Since 1984, DAP's mission has been to ensure people living in the Coachella Valley with HIV and AIDS lead healthy and happy lives, by receiving the comprehensive and compassionate care every human being deserves.

Mission

The mission of Desert AIDS Project is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of our community.

About Desert AIDS Project 

“What you have done is demonstrate that concern for justice, compassion and love for fellow human beings, can accomplish miracles and can sustain human dignity and life where only fear and death would otherwise exist.”

Who we are—from humble beginnings

Founded in 1984 by a group of community volunteers in the face of the AIDS crisis, Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has been the Coachella Valley’s primary not-for-profit resource for those living with, affected by, or at-risk for HIV or AIDS.

Today, we are a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with the goal of improving the overall health of our entire community, especially the disenfranchised. DAP provides comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary and preventative health care services including; primary medical care, HIV and Hepatitis specialty care, dentistry, behavioral health and social services all-under-one-roof.

We have never lost touch with our volunteer roots, nor our expertise and dedication to combating the AIDS/HIV epidemic. In fact, our donors and volunteers are essential to our growth and expanded capacity to meet the needs of those facing economic disadvantage. As DAP continues to strive to become fiscally self-sustaining, we are so grateful to more than 400 volunteers who contribute over 60,000 hours of service annually – the equivalent of almost 30 full-time employees. In fact, two volunteers each worked 2,000 hours in the last year alone! Our volunteers receive neither a paycheck nor other paid benefits.

Who we serve—the need is great

While not immune to the pressures on state and federal budgets, DAP is as committed as ever to helping stop the spread of HIV in the Coachella Valley where the rate of infection is 400% greater than the national average. Our committed staff of volunteers continue to help us provide FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL testing seven days a week at locations throughout eastern Riverside County and the High Desert region of San Bernardino County.

The majority of our clients are low-income, medically-underserved community members. The Coachella Valley is characterized by a significantly wide disparity in income levels. While some communities in the region are affluent, low-income residents are increasing both in numbers and as a percentage of the total population. In our most immediate FQHC service area, more than 50% of the population is living under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

In addition to economic disadvantage, food and housing insecurity, as well as health disparities such as diabetes, mental illness, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse are prevalent. A growing aging population (due to the area’s relatively affordable cost of living for those on low or fixed incomes as compared to large metro areas), and limited employment opportunities (due to a tourism-based economy) add to the complexity of need.

With more than 4,000 clients currently in care, and more than half impacted by HIV/AIDS, we continue to see 30-40 new clients each month and know that the need is even greater than what we can currently provide. In addition, DAP’s Community Health department conducts HIV testing, education and early intervention services helping thousands more in our community.

What we provide—comprehensive, compassionate care

Until there’s a cure, the vision of DAP is of healthy individuals, families, and communities despite the existence of HIV. To bring this vision to life, the mission of DAP is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of our community.

We ensure access to care by offering a sliding scale fee for income-qualified individuals who are uninsured. Our range of services help address urgent needs, as well as provide a foundation for clients to achieve positive health outcomes and fulfill the goals that they have for their lives. DAP further removes barriers by providing the following services which include:

  • Primary medical care
  • HIV and Hepatitis specialty care
  • Dental care
  • Guidance from case managers for assessments, referrals, advocacy and benefits counseling
  • Individual and group mental health services
  • Individual and group substance abuse counseling
  • Onsite laboratory diagnostic services
  • Prescriptions filled at the in-house pharmacy
  • Assistance with food, utilities, and transportation for qualified clients
  • Housing Programs to assist with permanent and emergency housing needs
  • Community-wide, free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, education and early intervention services
  • Home healthcare
  • Chiropractic, nutrition counseling and other wellness support
  • Computer lab where volunteer tutors help clients build computer skills
  • Help developing return-to-work strategies

DAP History

1984

At a time when public agencies and the healthcare system were slow to respond to the HIV epidemic in Coachella Valley, a community of grass-roots volunteers founded Desert AIDS Project.

1985

Upon FDA approval of the first test to detect HIV antibodies in blood, Desert AIDS Project responded immediately by initiating its own HIV/AIDS testing program in Coachella Valley.

1994

When HIV care was not available in eastern Coachella Valley where language and socio-economic challenges continue to persist, Desert AIDS Project responded by opening a satellite office in Indio to provide HIV and Hep C screening as well as early intervention and case management servicds for underserved and primarily low-income, Hispanic/Latino communities.

1998

When our primary facility in Palm Springs was no longer able to accomodate an increasing client load, local philanthropists responded with the purchase of our current 44,000 square-foot campus in Palm Springs to meet the increasing demand for services and larger medical clinic.

2001

As clients affeced by HIV were suffering from nutritional challenges as a result of their inability to maintain steady employement, the Morris & Linda Linsky family responded by building a Food Depot on the Desert AIDS Project campus to provide healthy food distribution, gorcery vouchers, and dietary guidance to over 300 clients per month.

2007

When there was a lack of affordable housing for many in our community living with HIV and other chronic conditions, philanthropist Philip Caplin responded by helping to fund Vista Sunrise Apartments on the Desert AIDS Project campus.

2008

When clients affected by HIV could not find culturally competent dentists who would care for them, philanthropists Georgia & Gerald Fogelson responded by building the first adult, HIV-speciality dental clinic in Riverside County on the Desert AIDS Project campus.

2012

When it was discovered during the course of HIV testing that certain types of cancer disproportionately affected persons living with HIV, philanthropist Annette Bloch stepped forward to fund a cancer care center dedicated to specialized HIV-related cancer research, screenings, treatment and prevention, ensuring that clients would receive timely and effective care.

2014

HIV infections remains disturbingly high in Coachella Valley, more than double the national rate of infection. In response, Desert AIDS Project launched Get Tested Coachella Valley as the nation's first non-profit let, region-wide HIV testing, prevention, education, and linkage to care initiative. Over 81,000 Coachella Valley residents were tested for HIV, and the testing work continues today.

2015

When it was discovered that a lack of access to sexual wellness information contributes ti an increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the Coachella Valley, our community of volunteers and donors helped launch THE DOCK, a walk-in, no-appointment-necessary clinic that provides HIV and STI testing, linkage to care and access to HIV preventative medicate PrEP and post-exposure PEP.

2016

When a  serious and growing need for Hepatitis care emerged in Coachella Valley, especially with regard to co-infection rates among persons living with HIV, our community of volunteers and donors helped support the DAP Hepatitis Center of Excellence to deliver comprehensive, state-of-the-art expertise to manage, support and cure those afflicted with Hepatitis.

2020

More than 50% of Coachella Valley residents live at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level ($24k/year). With the support of YOU, our community of volunteers and donors, this bold VISION 2020 campaign will allow Desert AIDS Project to expand our campus, programs, and services to meet the rapidly increasing affordable and quality health care needs fo 10,000 potential clients; more than doubling our current scope of service to communities in need.

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