DAP On World AIDS Day 2020: Hope Begins with Health
(Palm Springs, CA) December 1, 2020 -- DAP marks World AIDS Day 2020 by remembering the millions we have lost globally to AIDS, and by renewing our commitment to offer care and services that enable people with HIV (PWH) to live their best lives. When COVID arrived, we immediately fortified our HIV care program so that our patients would remain connected to care and receiving specialized services. We also increased options for anyone in our community to access prevention and testing for HIV. You can read more about our COVID Response here.
Globally, 38 million people today are living with HIV. And since the pandemic began, about 35 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Here in the Coachella Valley, new cases of HIV continue to dramatically outpace other parts of California (CDC).
Hope Begins with Health is our battle cry as we fight to continue care for PWH, as COVID continues to challenge us like nothing before.
COVID is presenting unique challenges for PWH, increasing the need for our services.
- Increased health problems from increased isolation, fear and anxiety,
- A higher risk of joblessness, food insecurity, and homelessness.
“Our roots are deep from the lessons of compassionate care that the AIDS crisis taught us,” says David Brinkman, CEO. “From those roots we learned the importance of health equity for all and COVID is calling on us to pay those lessons forward.”
Using our knowledge, compassion, and infrastructure for the greater good, we are committed to the dual purpose of continuing to care for our 8,000 clients while also supplying support to all those in our community affected by the pandemic.
New HIV Testing Set-Up on Old Turf
Palm Springs Revivals, a location steeped in DAP history, will once again serve as the backdrop for bringing people closer to their health. The community will start noticing DAP’s Mobile Testing Van, with staff dispensing anonymous HIV tests that are self-administered at home. Follow up and linkage to care is always offered with testing from DAP, and we are answering our patients calls for additional ways of HIV testing, accessible in more places. A $10 gift card will be offered with each test.
Decades ago in the same complex, a group of off-duty medical professionals would meet AIDS patients at night to administer treatments in an era when HIV was still a mystery and conventional healthcare providers in the area were forbidden from treating people with AIDS. This was the beginning of Desert AIDS Project.
Everyday Heroes 2020: Honoring Valley Leaders
Each year on World AIDS Day, DAP bestows the title of Everyday Hero to humanitarians in our Valley leading the way to help people thrive with HIV, and to help prevent new infections.
COVID is not stopping us from honoring the following Everyday Heroes for 2020: Dr. Terri Ketover and Dr. Tom Truhe.
We honor them for their years of dedicated service and generous contributions of their passion, time and talents to DAP, and thousands of lives touched by their incredible leadership.
Familiar Worries for Long Term Survivors
Danny Kopelson serves on DAP’s Client Advisory Board and considers himself as thriving with HIV, although living during a second major pandemic for him is full of reminders of the hardest days of HIV he survived.
“When COVID was identified as a deadly virus, that immediately triggered a 40-year-old nightmare,” Danny says. “The bleak memories of AIDS in the 80s and 90s flooded into my head.”
“Much of the language being used related to COVID is exactly the same as with AIDS,” says Danny.
Familiar phrases and keywords can include testing positive or negative, antiretrovirals, antibody, resistance, viral loads.
“This is not an everyday conversation, so hearing it on the news immediately takes me back to the past.”
As life during COVID becomes a reality, keeping Virtual Visits with doctors and using Zoom meetings for wellness services and groups are keeping life open for Danny and others.
“I’ve started to feel more hope,” he says. “I’ve gone back to doing yoga, meditating, volunteering and being in regular contact with family and friends; masked, distanced and with Zoom.”
If you or anyone you know needs information about HIV treatment or prevention, visit daphealth.org.
About DAP Health Center
DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.
DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.
Visit www.desertaidsproject.org to learn more.