Meet the Provider: Dr. Phyllis Ritchie – Board Certified Infectious Disease Specialist

Dr. Phyllis Ritchie is a board certified Infectious Disease specialist.  Originally from San Francisco, she received her undergraduate BA degree from San Francisco State University, majoring in Italian. Dr. Ritchie went to medical school at Chicago Medical School and completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Loyola University Medical Center.  Dr. Ritchie received specialty training in […]

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Syphilis Rate Rising Significantly in Coachella Valley as STDs Reach All-Time High in U.S.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Bruce Weiss, Director of Community Health Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) Tel:  760-323-2118 x455 Email: bweiss@desertaidsproject.org  Syphilis Rate Rising Significantly in Coachella Valley as STDs Reach All-Time High in U.S. Desert AIDS Project urges all sexually-active individuals to protect themselves, test routinely, and seek needed treatment. Gay and bisexual men at especially […]

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Meet the Provider: Dr. David Hersh – Leading Our Team of Medical Experts

Meet the Provider: Dr. David Hersh – Leading Our Team of Medical Experts

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Meet the Provider: Anthony Velasco – Specializing in Caring, Comprehensive, and Compassionate Care.

Please join us in welcoming Anthony Velasco to the Desert AIDS Project medical team. Mr. Velasco is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and has been working in HIV care since 2010.

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FREE PrEP Education Forum at Chill Bar

You are invited to join us at Chill Bar on National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to learn about PrEP! This free PrEP education forum will focus on the benefits of PrEP, answer your questions about PrEP, and will help you have a better understanding of the available resources right here in Coachella Valley. Featured […]

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Cluster of Shigella Infections in Southern California- What We Need to Know In the Coachella Valley

A cluster of cases of Shigella in Southern California among Gay, Bisexual and other Men who Have Sex with Men (MSM) calls for increased awareness in the Coachella Valley. Cases of Shigella have been confirmed in Southern California, which resulted in the California Department of Public Health and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health […]

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We’d be honored to have your vote-Best of the Valley’s Ultimate Pride 2016!

For the second year in a row, Desert Sun readers have nominated their favorite LGBT-friendly places, businesses, and events in Coachella Valley for the Best of the Valley’s Ultimate Pride List. On the list for 2016 – Revivals Stores, Desert AIDS Project, and the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala! We’d be honored to have your […]

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PAW/D.A.P. – Helping the furry friends who help our clients

About 30 minutes after client Randy Broo dropped off his rescued Lhasa Apso, Gladys, at the groomer, he received a call saying she had suffered a freak accident and was paralyzed. It took about $5,700 in vet and therapy bills to get Gladys walking … OK, mostly scooting … again. Even though Gladys is on […]

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Trans Pride 2016 Photo by Luis Alberto Gavela

Supporting the transgender community

When it comes to helping transgender individuals on a day-to-day basis … whether that means finding a job or accessing culturally-competent medical and psychological care … it’s all about putting aside the stereotypes and embracing people for who they are. That was clearly the main message to the crowd of about 60 who gathered for […]

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Ralph Gonzalez returns to Desert AIDS Project after AIDS Lifecycle

‘Ralph’s Excellent Adventure’ leads him back to Desert AIDS Project

For Rafael Gonzalez, the AIDS/LifeCycle “Ride to end AIDS” was a challenge whose time had come. Another chance for the 36-year-old to prove he could do something seemingly impossible for an honorable and worthy cause. Last month, our Education and Testing Program Manager got his chance to do something big. He joined over 3,000 cyclists […]

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Donated Bike helps clients

Donated bikes offer transportation for clients

Getting around in the Coachella Valley is nearly impossible without a car. Simple tasks like shopping and making necessary stops at the bank and the post office can become huge hassles – especially when these venues are miles away, it’s 110 degrees in summer, and the bus won’t come for another 42 minutes. Mike Ayres […]

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Revivals donations benefit Desert AIDS Project

Revivals “rolling billboards” deliver direct service to D.A.P. clients

Just about everyone in our desert cities has seen our familiar Revivals trucks – some have called them “rolling billboards” – on every local street and highway. Driven by unofficial ambassadors of D.A.P.’s mission, those trucks are busy on a daily basis, picking up donations and making deliveries. Even more important, they are helping to […]

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Reaching out to diverse communities

When D.A.P. was funded by the Riverside University Health System to present Community Education events during the months of May and June, our internal teams knew they would be addressing four distinctly different audiences: gay men of color, women living with HIV, the transgender community, and families living in eastern Coachella Valley. These groups often […]

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Let's Talk about Tina Header

Crystal methamphetamine, that is…

This Tina isn’t your best girlfriend that you might be worried about. She’s something far more insidious and bears a bit of conversation. “Tina” is crystal methamphetamine, also called Crank … or Glass … or Ice … or Crystal … or Meth … or a variety of other street names. No matter the name anyone […]

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Group treats depression by eliminating isolation  

Grady Crittendon and Barry Flynn are among 27 members of the Isolation to Socialization group at Desert AIDS Project. Both men were caregivers for very demanding, infirm roommates. Grady and Barry said they’d lost themselves while cooking, cleaning, bookkeeping, and handling all technology for their chronically ill friends. Help came in the form of an email […]

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A little bit of Success goes a long way

‘A body at rest stays at rest… unless acted upon by some other force.’ What does Newton’s First Law of Motion have to do with Desert AIDS Project, you ask? Simply put, many of D.A.P.’s clients say they’re “stuck.” They want healthier lives, to be more outgoing, and to accomplish some long-held goals. But getting […]

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D.A.P. volunteer aims to protect and entertain clients

J. Scott Beaty plays “Not While I’m Around” on his grand piano as if the famous Stephen Sondheim song were the soundtrack of his life. The song’s lyrics, “Nothing’s gonna hurt you, not while I’m around,” illustrates Scott’s lifelong record of serving and protecting those in need. It also symbolizes Scott’s love of music and […]

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Revivals Palm Desert soon to be “El Paseo adjacent”

“Location, location, location” might be a realtor’s cliché but it still drives every retailer’s decisions about where to place their new store. Location – to the third power — has driven Revivals Palm Desert to move from its location just off I-10, at 72-750 Dinah Shore Drive near Costco, and relocate seven miles south down […]

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2016 is going to be an EPIC year for D.A.P. patients!!

Desert AIDS Project is making a big step forward in how it electronically maintains patient medical records with Epic, which is used by the majority of U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked hospitals and medical schools. The switch from Greenway, D.A.P.’s current electronic health records (EHR) management tool, to Epic is designed to not only […]

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Living a full life, despite illness and loss

A pretty, petite, 21-year-old is not exactly who comes to mind when we think of a long-term survivor of HIV and AIDS. But she is. Kalayah Lanice Smith was born, HIV positive, on Sept. 14, 1994.  That makes her a long-term survivor, at the ripe old age of 21, who helped us focus our attention […]

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Women’s Empowerment Day invites sharing and growing

The female clients of Desert AIDS Project will be front and center, as they receive manicures, massages, and sisterly love during the second annual Women’s Empowerment Day on May 21 … and it’s going to be all about health and wellness for women living with HIV and AIDS. They’ll learn more about their unique health […]

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D.A.P. doctors keep patients on the HIV Care Continuum

Think about this on March 30, National Doctors Day: Desert AIDS Project has 10 full- and part-time physicians participating in the HIV Care Continuum. D.A.P. doctors and their peers at ASOs in the U.S. and the world are passionate about the HIV Care Continuum designed to get community members tested and those who are diagnosed […]

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D.A.P.’s nutritionist prescribes good food for good health

The health care world, including Desert AIDS Project, looks at nutrition as a key part of good health. That’s why Gustavo Wong, registered dietitian and certified exercise physiologist, joined us about eight months ago as yet another facet of D.A.P.’s holistic approach to the care of our patients and clients. Food is medicine for all […]

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A memorial to a loved one = a new lease on life for D.A.P.’s Computer Lab

For years, D.A.P.’s Computer Lab has been providing a connection to the digital world for clients who may not have access to computers or the Internet from home or elsewhere. While the lab’s computer equipment was serviceable enough, it certainly wasn’t latest generation or state-of-the-art. But much of that has changed, thanks to Harold Clumeck’s […]

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HIV and its care pose special challenges to dental health

There are some dental health issues pressing on those living with HIV and AIDS that we should illuminate in February, when National Dental Health Month is marked. Our dentists, Dr. Ryan Yamashiro and Dr. Daniel Jo, both graduates of Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, agree that some of these concerns weigh more heavily on […]

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Broadway comes to Palm Springs

The southwest corner of Sunrise and Vista Chino in Palm Springs isn’t the address of either the McCallum or the Annenberg theaters. So, how did “The Color Purple,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” and the New York City Ballet find their way there from The Big Apple? Snippets of Broadway – literal snips of fabric from […]

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Time-tested, tried-and-true: the condom has been useful for centuries

Fifty-three thousand, three-hundred, and fifty-two. That’s the number of safer sex kits Desert AIDS Project volunteer Gene Touchet has built since he joined our Condom Club in 1998. That’s 53,352 opportunities to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, (STIs), and unintended pregnancies in D.A.P.’s service area. That’s 53,352 chances for our family, friends, and […]

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Q&A with one of D.A.P.’s newer medical providers

As a Doctor of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner Rodney Fox came to Desert AIDS Project from a healthcare center in Atlanta called Pride Medical, where his daily practice included caring for both the LGBT community and those living with HIV or AIDS. In addition to putting his knowledge and experience to work as an Adjunct, Assistant […]

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Expanding D.A.P. services for even greater clinical care and research

If change is progress in search of perfection, as Winston Churchill said, D.A.P. has made progress in a big way in 2015 … and we have even greater plans for 2016 and beyond. “Thanks to new advances in treatment, improved access to care through health reform, and the incredible success of PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, as […]

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A beautiful evening, reprised yet again by a grateful D.A.P.

The banquet hall at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel gradually fills with 400 guests. And the gentle roar of 400 conversations in the softly lit room quiets as the Desert Winds Freedom Band Jazz Sextet begins to play. It’s Desert AIDS Project’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Hudson Alling, volunteer coordinator, is about to take the […]

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Rob Roy Conklin brings good music to D.A.P.

Robert Roy Conklin has an almost spiritual connection to his musical instrument, the Great Highland bagpipes. Just listen to the way he talks about the instrument he knows as a sometimes temperamental friend: “The bagpipes have three drones that hum,” Rob says, fingering the air near his chest. “The main chanter, she screams the tune […]

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Employees were fired up for Desert AIDS Walk 2015

Right up to the eve of Desert AIDS Walk 2015, the excitement at Desert AIDS Project was palpable as employees pitched their final fundraisers in hopes of becoming the staff team to raise the most money for the 28th annual walkathon. Meanwhile off campus, Revivals’ team captains also rallied their troops for a final push […]

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D.A.P. tests new treatment for drug-resistant STI

Desert AIDS Project is studying a new treatment for a very pervasive sexually-transmitted infection (STI) that’s now become drug-resistant. Under the direction of Dr. Steven Scheibel, D.A.P. is studying the efficacy, safety, and side effects of a drug that combats Nesseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is the second most common STI and […]

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She finds care, acceptance, and career at D.A.P.

Desert AIDS Project “not only saved my sanity, but my life,” Bridgette Picou says when recalling that harrowing time when she was first diagnosed HIV positive. D.A.P. became Bridgette’s salvation when she came to us as part of a small pool of female patients, and again when she joined our team as a Licensed Vocational […]

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Our man in the Latino Community

In concept, HIV does not discriminate – after all, anyone who’s Human can contract Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV.) But in the real world, it kinda does. In the U.S., it favors gay men. But it also has an affinity for poor people with marginal connections to education, health care, and sometimes English to name a […]

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Can we ease strain of HIV meds on bones and kidneys?

Desert AIDS Project is participating in a study designed to test a drug that suppresses the HIV infection without threatening bone mass and kidney functions. The name of the study is a mouthful. It’s called, “A Phase 3b Double-Blind, Randomized, Switch Study to Evaluate F/TAF in HIV-1 Infected Subjects who are Viralogically Suppressed on Regimens […]

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In the Coachella Valley… “throw a rock in any direction and you’re bound to hit a meth dealer.”

That’s how clients of Desert AIDS Project describe the prevalence of crystal methamphetamine –commonly referred to as meth, crystal, Tina, ice, or glass, among other street names – in the Coachella Valley. Just as crystal meth has become a social problem on a global scale, our clients insist it plagues many of the people D.A.P. […]

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Speak up during National Bullying Prevention Month

Thomas was in that figuring-it-all-out stage of adolescence when he first enrolled in an East Valley middle school, right here in our lovely desert community. But just as he was coming to grips with the way he talks, walks, and all the other things that make him, well, Thomas, he was pelted with paper wads, […]

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Exciting breakthrough in treating dysplasia

Dr. Steven Scheibel, Medical Director at Desert AIDS Project, believes he’s found a new way to treat the conditions that can lead to anal cancer. The new therapy uses human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines in conjunction with an immune-boosting cream to kill anal dysplasia, which is often a gateway to anal cancer. This therapy promises to […]

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Brande Director of Grants talks about National Health Center Week

Health Centers provide valuable care to the poor and uninsured

National Health Center Week Aug. 9 through Aug. 15 recognizes and gives thanks to the medical teams that treat the under-served populations of our nation in smaller settings right in their own neighborhoods. These Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers, started about 50 years ago to serve low-income patients largely in […]

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National Strategy for ending HIV/AIDS gets updated

On July 30, the national strategy for removing HIV/AIDS from the American health care landscape, updated to the year 2020, was lived-streamed to the world via Internet. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy was put in place by the Obama Administration in 2010 to identify goals and action steps needed to address the epidemic domestically. The Strategy […]

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Interpreters help D.A.P. talk to diverse communities

The Coachella Valley is a very diverse place, attracting people who speak a variety of different languages. In an effort to better serve this broad community, Desert AIDS Project now contracts with a West Coast firm that can translate English into about 200 different languages. Certified Languages International, which has offices in Portland, OR., and […]

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AIDS diagnosis didn’t limit volunteer; it gave him focus

A lot of ingredients went into making Christopher Christensen, volunteer with Get Tested Coachella Valley, the dedicated and giving man he is today. Chris, 63, is a retired manager from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He was on the team in the 1970s that developed electronic banking systems that made automatic teller machines […]

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