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

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

Using Tools That We Trust

Using Tools That We Trust 

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 19, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

Committed to Preventing Flu  

By missing a flu shot, as many as 50 million Americans may catch influenza this year, but now it can be much deadlier. 

Experts warn that it is possible to catch the flu on top of a COVID, but there is something everyone can do now to make a huge difference. Flu season starts in late fall, and getting your vaccination is recommended by October 1, 2020. 

Now is the time to schedule your flu shot with your DAP doctor by logging onto MyChart, or by calling (760) 323-2118. Please read more here

Flu season often is delayed in Southern California, meaning we see cases peak in January through February. DAP is timing its flu shots so that patients retain immunity during peak months. 

If you have HIV, you are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. In addition to taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), the best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu shot.  

Questions About Flu? Call Us! 

Our COVID Clinic also specializes in multiple upper and lower respiratory diseases, including flu. Anyone interested in talking about the flu should call 760-992-0407 to talk to a clinician.  

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way for COVID Response 

36 years of walking created the roadmap DAP used to quickly open a COVID Clinic, which has provided testing and respiratory treatment to almost 3,500 residents since the pandemic began. Together we are boldly applying lessons from our past to today's crisis.  

Because of community support, DAP developed the services needed to respond to the AIDS epidemic while creating a patient-centered model of care that today helps more than 7,000 patients, regardless of HIV status. 

The AIDS crisis left unhealed wounds and it is understandable that we may resist leaving our comfort zone.  But AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response.  It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help. Read more here

Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020

Media Contacts:

Jack Bunting
jbunting@desertaidsproject.org
(760) 323-2118
 

Steven Henke
shenke@desertaidsproject.org
760-656-8401

Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020 

Palm Springs, CA (September 8, 2020) – It’s that time of year again, and AIDS Walk 2020 is an exciting opportunity for everyone who cares about ending AIDS and opening up healthcare for all to carry on this important and life affirming tradition.  

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 will last for two days and will span cities across the Coachella Valley, October 23 & 24.

Festivities include an online wellness forum. This is an opportunity for entertainment and to learn more about DAP’s programs and services, dedicated community sponsors, and the extended work of its partners. Registration and more information is available at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

Walk routes in surrounding desert cities are also offered, a new feature that lets everyone participate in Desert AIDS Walk 2020 while getting out and enjoying their own communities.  More info is at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org

This year, the traditional Palm Springs route remains a favorite pathway, and it’s been mapped out and is available for download.  

Capture and share your HOPE

Along the way there are plenty of opportunities for walkers to safely take selfies, like at new art installations, or designated stops to say hello to local businesses—all with the intention of sharing messages of HOPE via social media. 

In many ways, Desert AIDS Walk has always been virtual.  When it began thirty-four years ago, the first organizers say they did not know if the community would support it, but they knew the only way forward was together. Support from was instant, and their HOPE started to grow.  

 When walkers register, they will be given three clear reasons to walk in 2020:   

  • Healthcare Access for All 
  • HIV/AIDS Education, Prevention & Care 
  • COVID-19 Triage Clinic 

The reason for the Walk has never really been about balloon arches or walker t-shirts. It’s always been about the collective power of community and our shared vision of a future where everyone has the comprehensive care that they need to live their best lives.    

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way For COVID Response

Because of community support, DAP developed the services needed to respond to the AIDS epidemic while creating a patient-centered model of care that helps people with HIV. 

Thirty-four years of walking created the roadmap DAP used to quickly open a COVID-19 Triage Clinic, which has provided testing and respiratory treatment to almost 3,500 residents since the pandemic began. Together we are boldly applying lessons from our past to today's crisis.  

Desert AIDS Project CEO, David Brinkman explains: "By opening one of California's first COVID clinics, DAP made a choice.  We are survivors; fear cannot rule us; when crisis sets it, we step forward."  

  • We have the ability to end epidemics, including HIV and COVID 
  • We integrate Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment as critical components of Primary Care 
  • We address Social Determinates of Health, including racism and poverty, through our inclusive model of healthcare. 

With the ongoing courage and support of this community, our organization thrives.    

The AIDS crisis left unhealed wounds and it’s understandable that we may resist leaving our comfort zone.  But AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response.  It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help.   

And as we’ve learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.     You can find out more at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, 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.




Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020

Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020  

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 12, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

HIV remains a substantial threat to public health in the Coachella Valley, and we are not letting COVID distract us from vigorously fighting it 

As we test more new positive cases, we are stepping forward and evolving our programs to test, treat, and prevent HIV in the age of COVID. 

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is more important now than ever. You can find out more at  www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

The reason for the Walk has never really been about balloon arches or walker t-shirts. It’s always been about the collective power of community and our shared vision of a future where everyone has the comprehensive care that they need to live their best lives. 

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is an important funding source for programs and services that help people thrive with HIV, while preventing new cases in our valley. It also supports Hepatitis C cures, behavioral health services, dentistry, food, housing, and other vital services. 

This year we are making it easy and fun for Valley residents to participate with downloadable walk routes, specialized for safe walking in their cities. We’re also including an online wellness forum that will provide entertainment and more about DAP’s programs and services, dedicated community sponsors, and the extended work of its partners. Registration and more information is available at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

DAP Talks  

Suicide Prevention 

Preventing suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic is a major concern for mental health advocates everywhere. DAP’s Dr. Jill GoverBehavioral Health Manageraddressed the warning signs and other important information we all should be aware of in her latest DAP Talks. You can listen here.  

If you or someone you know needs to talk to a specialist about suicide, please don’t wait. The following services are availableday and night: 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.  

Riverside County HELPline, a free confidential crisis suicide intervention service (951) 686-HELP (4357). 

DAP In The News 

No matter what health profile we fit, it’s important to stay engaged in our healthcare during this crisis. Dr. Tulika Singh talked to The Standard about the top four neglected health habits she notices in her patients, plus realistic fixes for better outcomes. You can read more here. 

Sharing what we know to help others grow

Sharing what we know to help others grow

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 5, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

We Won Rapid ART Implementation Site Status By HRSA

Significant numbers of PLWHA here and across the U.S. live without taking medication to treat their HIV. This threatens their own lives, as well as public health, because being virally suppressed means stopping new transmissions of HIV.

Not having access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) shows us one of the most painful examples of healthcare disparities today, and we have worked hard to make sure patients at DAP don’t wait for ART, plus other important life necessities for thriving with HIV. 

After hard work by our team, DAP has been designated as a Rapid ART Implementation Site, standing with just 10 other healthcare organizations in the U.S. who also competed.

This national demonstration project and collaboration with HRSA will help us share our 36 years of experience, as well as boost resources for our HIV testing and treatment programs for people in the Coachella Valley.

For a three-year period, DAP will continue to build and share its best practices for making sure PLWHA receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) quickly after receiving an initial HIV diagnosis, or immediately after requesting it if they stopped ART for any reason. To learn more, click here.

Affirmation From HRC

When we started 36 years ago, HIV rights and the fight for medical access were synonymous with LGBTQ rights. Opening our doors wider requires doing the work to always ensure that we hold ourselves accountable when it comes to honoring every letter in the acronym LGBTQ. 

We are proud to receive the status of Top Performer in the annual Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) 2020, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). You can read more here.

Saying I Love You To Palm Springs

Dr. Shubha Kerkar modeled some healthy behavior for us all when she helped unveil the new PS I Love You public art sculpture, getting plenty of fresh morning air while also wearing a face mask. The unveiling was dedicated to healthcare workers on the front lines during the COVID heath crisis and included representatives from Eisenhower and Desert Health.

Prioritizing the Health Care Needs of Ou …

Prioritizing the Health Care Needs of Our Community

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, August 29, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

Working Towards COVID-19 Testing For All

We should offer Coronavirus testing to everybody, to guide re-opening with data driven decisions. We are committed to the work it will take to make that a reality in this community, and we are proud that our COVID Clinic has been able to test thousands of people already with rapid antibody and Nasal swab testing. But we have a way to go before universal testing is a reality.  

Our COVID Clinic prioritizes symptomatic patients for testing over asymptomatic patients who have had a high-risk exposure, and this is because we are forced to triage resources for those who are most in need. This is not our first choice, given what we know is possible if we test everyone who requests one.

We are still fighting to end HIV, and we will never forget the difference we made once we were able to offer testing to anyone who wanted one, regardless of ability to pay.

If you or anyone you know have questions about testing for COVID-19, please call our hotline at (760) 992-0407.

For our Q&A about Coronavirus, click here.

DAP Talks: Maintain Wellness With Chiropractic Care

People at all fitness levels are experiencing extra inflammation, muscle and joint pain, and stiffness brought on by COVID stress. In this week’s DAP Talks, Dr. Jim Cox explains why these issues don’t have to be a given as we all shelter in place. Click here to listen.

There is a lot more hope for adapting to the new normal, especially because accessing chiropractic services at DAP is now open to non-clients. If you know anyone needing adjustments and coaching from our compassionate and experienced Doctor of Chiropractic, please call (760) 323-2118 or request an appointment on MyChart.

ANAC Promotion For Anthony Velasco

Ask any long-term HIV/AIDS survivor, and they will tell you the impact nurses make in their lives. Nurses keep PLWHA safe by managing their care, and their empathy and support are linked to sustaining ART adherence.

When you have a global network of engaged nurses who work in AIDS care sharing knowledge, life and care for PLWHA is so much better. That is the function of The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC).

It’s an honor to announce DAP HIV Specialist, Anthony Velasco, nurse practitioner and co-chair of our Transgender Care Program, has been elevated by ANAC to the office of Nominating Committee.

According to ANAC, “Anthony's dedication and commitment to the organization and all of those affected by HIV/AIDS is recognized and appreciated by us all. The membership has voiced their confidence in your leadership.”

We are so proud of Anthony. For more information about Anthony and DAP’s Gender Affirming Care, click here.

Did You Know Volunteering Gives You Life …

Did You Know Volunteering Gives You Lifelong Personal Growth and Well-Being? 

One of the main benefits of volunteering, besides helping others, is the lifelong personal growth and well-being. Doing good in your community helps you work together towards equity and equality for everyone. It gives you a sense of purpose in life and it also strengthens your ties with your local community. Depending on where you decide to volunteer, you will make a real difference in the lives of others. Every volunteer can make a difference. However, the more you volunteer the more happy and complete you feel within.  

Five benefits from volunteering: 

  1. Helps you share your skills and develop new ones- Many times when volunteering, you discover hidden talents as you share your skills with your team. You may learn one’s from others’ expertise and may spark other interests for you. It also helps boosts your skills and expand your network. It’s a win-win situation. 
  2. Connects you with others in your community- You’re providing a valuable service to the community and giving back through social responsibility. You become part of a change to continue build a new, better community. 
  3. Helps you build self- confidence and self-esteem- Your role as a volunteer can give you a sense of pride and identity. The more you feel good about yourself, the more you will transmit positive vibes to those around you. 
  4. Gives you a sense of purpose- Many studies have shown helping others kindles happiness. Whatever age or life situation, volunteering will help take your mind off your own worries. It will also keep you mentally stimulated.  
  5. Important for your career- if you’re considering a new career, volunteering can help you get the experience needed and open doors for you in that field. If changing careers is not your plan, volunteering will also give you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace. 

If you’re ready to make new friends, share your skills while gaining others and improving your health, then this is the time for you to get involved in volunteering. Your life will change to the better, but you will change the lives of others forever. Start volunteering today! 

Want to be part of our team of Volunteers? 

Put your talent and time to work and make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  Revivals support Desert AIDS Project, a federally qualified healthcare center that 7,000 of your neighbors call their healthcare home. 

Our volunteers are changing the world one hour at a time. We need your help. Please go to www.revivalsstores.com to fill out a short interest form. We look forward to seeing you soon! Support the community you want to create. 

Our 36th Birthday

Our 36th Birthday

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, August 22, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

Today marks the 36th birthday of Desert AIDS Project, and when we take a look around, I’m extremely moved to see that our team continues to fulfill our founding promise—to save lives and prevent new HIV infections in the Coachella Valley.

I’m reminded of how the worst years of the AIDS crisis taught us how to respond quickly and thoroughly for the public health of our community, even when guidance was scarce. I’m proud of our team’s courage in applying these values today, whether through continuous COVID-19 support to over 3,000 patients so far in our Triage Clinic, or by keeping our 7,500 Health Center patients engaged in medical and behavioral care without missing a beat.

Journalist Nicholas Snow created an inspiring birthday tribute with a new collection of interviews with the people who make DAP so special today.  You can watch them by clicking here. 

DAP Talks: New Service at DAP! Drive-Up Condom Kits

People are testing positive for HIV and STIs at an increasing rate compared to this time last year, and we want to provide everything in the toolbox to protect themselves and others.

We know that access to condoms is an effective prevention tool, but the public and social venues where we’ve always shared them are closed.

We are so thankful to our Condom Club for preparing thousands of condom kits to help us continue to fight COVID-19 as we now offer free drive-up condoms.  In our latest episode of DAP Talks, Community Health Educator Caitlin Becker tells us about her role as a sexual health educator and her work leading our free condom program.

Anyone can schedule a condom kit pickup by sending an email to testing@desertaidsproject.org

DAP In The News

Living with HIV in the age of COVID-19 triggers primal survival instincts for many of our patients, and a natural response is to stay home and nest. And with current shelter-in-place guidelines, this makes sense. But we’re concerned for our patients’ health as they put off testing for STIs and routine medical check-ups. 

Thanks to reporting in The Desert Sun, PLWHA were given another reason to feel more comfortable about coming in for items that cannot be fulfilled over telephone or video, like STI testing, essential lab work, and immunizations.

If you have managed HIV, you are not more likely to contract COVID-19 than anyone else, and this is great news for everyone. You can read Maria Sestito’s article here.

Continuing The Care We Are Known For

Continuing The Care We Are Known For

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, August 8, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

People With HIV Need Unique Care During COVID-19

People living with HIV, and especially anyone aging with HIV, need options that keep them continuously in care in spite of COVID. Since the beginning of DAP, our doctors have shared their experience with providers everywhere on best practices for providing excellent HIV care for their patients. When doctors help each other learn, patients always come out on top.

Dr. Jill Gover continued this on a panel by HealthHIV that examined managing HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explored the impact of mental and sexual health on HIV care, based on decades of experience and feedback from the Behavioral Health Department at DAP. You can find out more here.

DAP In The News

Staying On Top Of Sexual Health

C.J. Tobe and his team’s work to tackle the current STI and HIV surges were featured in an article in The Standard. The story also explains the dangerous syndemic nature among HIV, STIs, and HCV, and the work being done by End The Epidemics to keep Californians safer. You can read more here.

Born to Be Film Screening

We know our transgender siblings face unimaginable alienation in healthcare settings, and a recent study from UC Riverside researchers in the School of Medicine backs that up.  Only 15% of individuals reported it was easy to find a provider with sufficient knowledge and experience on issues related to transgender people. That isn’t the case at DAP, and we’re committed to fighting this stigma by sharing stories of transgender people as they navigate their journeys of transformation.

We’re partnering with the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care - Greater Palm Springs to host a free virtual screening of Born To Be on August 13. It’s a documentary that follows the trans and gender non-conforming individuals who are changing their lives at the groundbreaking  Mount Sinai Hospital. Learn more and RSVP at https://bit.ly/BORNTOBE #BornToBeFilm

DAP’s Team Reaches Out in New Ways

DAP’s Team Reaches Out in New Ways

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, August 1, 2020, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

DAP Talks: Getting the Most Out of Your Healthcare   

Not knowing where to turn to access care and medication can be overwhelming for someone with HIV if they’ve lost a job or insurance, and especially if they need food and help with housing. There are more services and programs available than many patients realize.  

People in need have a friend in John Machado, Clinic Case Manager, who takes each client’s access to care personally. He is an expert at uncovering ways to attain health and services, based on each client’s unique story and his own 27 years of experience serving people throughout California.  “I’m here to help. One person can change another”, Machado proudly shares.  

Listen to his DAP Talks below.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 marked World Hepatitis Day.  

Community Health Department Reaches Out to Recovery Professionals  

Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis and are unaware. The theme for 2020 is to call on people to act and raise awareness in finding the “missing millions.” DAP acted by providing a virtual Hepatitis C event to substance use and treatment professionals across Riverside and San Bernardino County.  

C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health at DAP, spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic makes testing and treatment for other epidemics more urgent.  

“One thing we learned through the AIDS crisis is viruses do not discriminate. Anyone can get a virus.  

We have witnessed this for decades with HIV, Hepatitis, and now recently with COVID. We know social determinants of health is the driver for black and brown communities, and people living in poverty are disproportionately affected.   

Now, as the entire world is faced with the COVID crisis, it is more important than ever to work together to keep our finger on the pulse of other epidemics, especially the silent epidemic known as Hepatitis C that preceded COVID.”  

Did You Know?  

DAP Community Health Department team members are certified phlebotomists which allows HIV confirmatory tests to be drawn via our mobile unit, connecting the client to DAP’s Health Center to begin rapid ART for HIV.  

The PBT license also allows Community Health staff to administer STI testing in the mobile unit. 

5 Habits That Improve Physical Resiliency 

Dr. Singh, HIV Specialist, Associate Chief Medical Officer & Director of Research, is noticing that patients of hers with certain habits are experiencing better health outcomes during this pandemic. According to Dr. Singh “COVID-19 has upended our daily routines, our future, and our lifestyles. It’s crucial to get sleep, physical activity, eat well, and manage stress, to care for yourself right now.”  

Top 5 Things PLWHA Should Do for Physical Resiliency   

  1. Exercise and maintain a healthy weight  
  2. Keep hydrated with water and electrolytes  
  3. Eat right and minimize alcohol consumption  
  4. Take HIV medications regularly  
  5. Do yogic breathing to strengthen lungs  

Important: Adhering to social distancing guidelines, wearing face coverings, and washing hands often are required for any additional health and wellness practices to be effective.   

Don’t Drop the Ball on Your Health   

Many people from across the Coachella Valley get their primary medical care at DAP, and no matter what health profile they fit, life during this pandemic can make it challenging to maintain good health. If you’re neglecting your health, it’s likely in one of the following four areas, according to Dr. Tulika Singh.  

Top 4 Areas Neglected Most During COVID-19  

  • STI prevention and screenings   
  • Behavioral health visits for depression or anxiety    
  • Eating right, keeping a healthy weight, reducing alcohol  
  • Keeping routine checkups and lab work with Primary Care doctor   

Dr. Singh has this helpful tip: Telehealth services at DAP provide care to patients in a timely way via an easy phone call or video visit while minimizing the transmission risk of COVID-19.  

Additionally, take breaks from watching and reading news stories, including social media, as hearing about the pandemic repeatedly is distressing.”  

DAP Receives Emergency Grant from Direct …

DAP Receives Emergency Grant from Direct Relief to Bolster the Healthcare Safety Net in the Coachella Valley

DAP is so thankful for the recent infusion of $50,000 in emergency grant funding from the medical aid organization Direct Relief, in partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers.

DAP was among 518 federally qualified health centers to receive funding through Direct Relief’s $25 million Covid-19 Fund for Community Health, which recognizes the profound effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the finances, services, staff, and patients of community health centers.

DAP will use the funds to continue operating its COVID-19 Triage Clinic in Palm Springs.

“Access to primary care is what keeps people healthy and out of the hospital, and the frontline work of DAP and other nonprofit community health centers across the U.S. is more critical than ever with the onset of Covid-19,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “Direct Relief is doing everything possible to bolster the work and support the staffs at the safety-net health facilities on which so many patients and their families rely for excellent care and trust for advice in this public health emergency.”

Nearly 30 million (1 in 12) of the country’s most vulnerable residents -- including 1 in 3 individuals living in poverty, 1 in 5 Medicaid beneficiaries, -- rely on federally qualified health centers like DAP for their health care. That number is expected to rise as more people lose employer-sponsored insurance.

“We are grateful for this critical and immediate support as Community Health Centers work hard to keep communities safe during an unprecedented pandemic,” said Tom Van Coverden, President & CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “We are also deeply appreciative of our longstanding partnership with Direct Relief in these uncertain times and their efforts to ensure that health centers confronting multiple challenges in underserved communities have the resources when and where they need them. We know that many donors and contributors have helped to make this fund possible, and we further extend our appreciation to all of them.”

About Our Clients

DAP serves vulnerable low-Income persons and families living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level inclusive of all races, ethnicities, gender orientation, and sexual identity, in addition to low-income people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Over one-third of DAP's patients/clients who are living with HIV are aged 50 years and older. DAP is well aware of the needs of clients and patients confronted by numerous complications of surviving long-term with HIV, including subsisting on fixed incomes.

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, 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.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

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