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DAP On World AIDS Day 2020: Hope Begins …

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

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.  

They are:  

  • 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 friendsmasked, 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. 

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.org to learn more. 

Revivals After-Dark Event Raised Funds a …

Revivals After-Dark Event Raised Funds and Evoked Origins of DAP 

Mental health advocacy and patient access were focus

(Palm Springs, CA) November 19, 2020 -- This community raised $6,000 in the first hour as it shopped last Sunday for all things leather at the Revivals After Dark Back Alley Event.

Volunteers worked to make the event safe, so that everyone attending could focus on finding incredible deals on a variety of leather clothing, plus accessories, erotic art and literature. These items are donated to Revivals Stores throughout the year and put aside for this special occasion.

Hosting the event outdoors was the right thing to do for safety, and it also created an urban feel that was enhanced with upbeat music as people shopped.

“We did this to say thank you to the Leather Community also,” says Michael McCartney, Revivals area manager. “From day one they have been a major part of Revivals.”

For some, it was an opportunity to experience a popular gay subculture that can be intimidating and costly as well.

“This event gives people who want to explore leather, kink, and fetish, but who don’t want to invest too much money up front,” says Charlie Harding, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020.  “They get to dip their toe in the water.”

There is more to it than that, he says.

“We’re providing a sex-positive environment that welcomes everyone to come together while we raise money for healthcare access and mental health awareness,” Charlie says.

Volunteers Hosted and Monitored Safety

Revivals volunteer Mark Musin is usually running the lamps department, but he and about 40 other volunteers pulled together and set up a browsing experience that put safety and spaciousness first.

“We used more tables than I thought we would, and we put more space in between them for social distancing,” he says.

Mark and the team placed all of the art for sale facing in one direction, a move to help guide the flow of people walking without getting too close.

“We did the same thing with books and accessories,” Mark says. “We could not have anyone feeling as though they were crowded.”

Throughout the event Mark and the team used mobile devices to monitor crowd size and report in with each other.  From inside the Palm Springs Revivals store and throughout the back alley, volunteers were ensuring everything was orderly, although guests were already eager to comply with safety guidelines.

“Customers know we take safety seriously, and they are supportive,” Mark says.

And not just at the Leather Event.

“Every morning there is a line before the store opens, and it’s because Revivals customers know it is safe.” Mark says.

Raising Awareness for Mental Health Advocacy

Taking a community approach for mental health advocacy, DAP co-sponsored this pop-up event to support work by Charlie Harding, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020, and his organization to bring more people into services they need.

“I try to help people understand and get past the stigma of mental illness,” he says.

While mental health challenges disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ people, the CDC says COVID is increasing them for everyone and overwhelming communities.

According to Charlie, when someone is struggling with a mental health challenge, everyone in their life needs to be united in providing support. He educates the leather community on the red flags that someone who is struggling may display, and how to offer help to that person.

“To help people feel better, you need your doctors, the support groups, the families and friends all to be supportive of each other,” Charlie says. “To improve quality of life.”

After years of raising awareness for more LGBTQ+ mental health access, Charlie believes it is finally translating into more available services locally, as advocates and health experts continue pointing to alarming statistics.

“The LGBTQ+ community has led the way in calling attention to it because of our higher suicide rates and societal negativity that is still in place around coming out,” he says. “But we are starting to see support groups and mental health services available, and it will increase the quality of life for everybody who struggles.”

Getting past stigma, towards understanding

“You tell people you have diabetes and they’re ok, but you say you are bipolar, and they immediately take pause,” Charlie says.

Stigma around mental illness can keep people from seeking services. But by openly sharing about his life with bipolar disorder, Charlie helps bring hope to others who are struggling. Describing the feelings can help people understand.

“It’s feeling like you rule the world,” he says. “And then, feeling like it’s about to end.”

He also describes how confusing it can be if friends and family don’t understand what mental health challenges look like.

“You’ll see someone who seems to be the life of the party,” he says, “And you cannot understand why they might have such mood swings and get so low.”

The alley has a very special significance to DAP 

Decades ago in an office above, 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.

It seemed fitting that in the midst of another pandemic, volunteers were once again using the space for an unintended purpose--to promote the welfare of the community.

About Charlie Harding, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020

As Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020, Charlie hopes to further issues important to him and our community such as sex positivity, mental health support, and gender diversity. He is developing a mental health initiative "Charlie Harding's Angel Project in Service," also known as CHAPS, and working towards eliminating the stigma attached to mental illness. Find out more at mrpalmspringsleather.com.

About Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert 

PSLOD welcomes community members to explore membership in our organization. All new members are required to complete a pledge process prior to assuming the duties of a PSLOD General Member. Find out more at pslod.org. 

About Revivals

The very first Revivals store was opened in 1995, in a back corner of the Desert AIDS Project office on Vella Road. Since those earliest days, the funds raised through selling donated goods at Revivals has gone back to support client services at D.A.P., while also providing a great volunteer opportunity for those who wanted to support the organization with their time and retail talents. Today, all of the stores are largely volunteer-run, enabling Revivals to make a significant financial contribution to the annual budget of Desert AIDS Project, which has earned a national reputation as one of the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS service providers in the U.S. Learn more at www.revivalsstores.com.

About DAP Health

DAP Health (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving more than 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.

Revivals Stores Celebrating 25 Years Rei …

Revivals Stores Celebrating 25 Years

Reinventing resale to raise millions for DAP 

(760) 656-8401 
shenke@desertaidsproject.org 
Contact: Steven Henke 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

PALM SPRINGS, CA- October 30, 2020 – Revivals Stores, with locations in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs marks its 25th anniversary in business this month.  From its beginning as one store on Vela Rd. near the Palm Springs Airport in 1995, Revivals continues to keep customers, volunteers, and donors coming back, even during this health crisis.

Promotion to Thank Shoppers

To celebrate more than two decades of support and excellent shopping deals, Revivals Stores is inviting everyone to “Join the Treasure Hunt” and enjoy 50% OFF on select items throughout its stores beginning November 1 and extending through the 25th.

These special sale items will have a Revivals 25th Anniversary sticker on them and will be from Revivals new and resale inventory from all store departments.

Known for influencing Coachella Valley resale industry by combining vintage and retail, Revivals is well known for affordability, discoverability, and its commitment to community. 

100% of Revivals Stores profits (about $1 million annually) support comprehensive healthcare for the 7,000 residents of the Coachella Valley who call DAP their healthcare home.

The resale store chain’s broad community of generous donors guarantees a steady supply of stellar resale merchandise alongside brand-new furniture and home décor. 

Early Safety Modifications Paid Off

A major funding source for DAP Health, Revivals Stores implemented COVID safety measures over weeks of planning during the early months of the crisis. They include social distancing markers throughout the stores and some minor policy changes. To keep safety a priority, fitting rooms were closed, returns are no longer accepted, and customers now bag their own products unless it is a larger item that requires assistance.

“We quickly focused on how we could provide shoppers a safe Revivals experience,” says Dane Koch, DAP director of retail.  “Acting early has led to us being able to keep our doors open today and into the future.”

Volunteers Make Revivals Special

The retailer is also celebrating the volunteers who make Revivals a unique shopping experience. 

“For twenty-five years, volunteers at Revivals have been changing the world, one hour at a time,” says Marci Lerner, volunteer coordinator for Revivals Stores.  “We asked them to share why they donate their time and talent – the reasons are as unique as the volunteers themselves.”   

  • “As a retired IRS Agent, I like the focus and responsibility volunteering provides me.  It is especially important during COVID to keep my life on a steady keel.” - Steve S
  • "Volunteering provides me a unique opportunity to give back to an organization that has done and still is unreserved in its support of those who live with HIV and AIDS.  They have been a beacon of hope for so long.  It is a small, yet significant way for Revivals to continue to champion the needs of the community.” - Gary
  • "Volunteering helps me to feel part of the greater picture of supporting those in need.  It also enables me to use my skills to help others.  In addition, the social interaction and attention to detail assists in building cognitive strength.” - Guy
  • "Due to COVID, I’m unemployed and for the first time I have time to give back to my community.” - Sue
  • "Volunteering gives me purpose.  Revivals is the best volunteer organization.  What DAP services provide to clients is par none.  And the treatment of volunteers is amazing at Revivals.” - John

Revivals Stores Roots Are in Making Healthcare Attainable

The financial contribution that Revivals Stores provides to DAP Health is more important today than ever before, according to David Brinkman, CEO. 

“The AIDS crisis taught us that a community response is the most effective response if we want to address gaps in healthcare,” he said. “When people are in need and in fear, we must remember our humanity and take a place on the front lines.”

As DAP continues fighting to end HIV in the Coachella Valley, it has is also addressing healthcare inequities affecting the poor, which COVID has increased.

The Mystique of Revivals Stores

Revivals is reinventing resale, adding brand new items at affordable prices.  Selling never-used items such as bedding is old hat for the 25-year-old retailer; it’s been doing that for more than a decade-and-a-half. But five years ago, the decision was made to get into the new home décor business. Today, locals vote Revivals ‘Best Furniture Store’ because of its affordable collection of trend-right items. A leader in retail,  Revivals is the only thrift shop in America to feature its own brand of new furniture, lighting, rugs, and accessories. Shoppers at Revivals can choose from brand new furniture and accessories while mixing their new style with thrift store finds from the decade of their choice. 

“We saw a real need in the valley for merchandise that was stylish, had good quality and was affordable,” adds Dane Koch, director of retail. 

Revivals offers home furnishing from more than 50 vendors—including brand names such as Ashley, Diamond, and Coaster—but much of its inventory is custom-made for the store, and all of its selections fall under Revivals’ Mode label. While the Palm Springs shop focuses on all things midcentury modern, the Cathedral City branch trades on value, and the Palm Desert outlets’ assortment is more traditional in style. 

About Revivals Stores  

Revivals has three locations: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Desert.  The stores are staffed by 180 volunteers who support the mission of Desert AIDS Project (DAP), enabling Revivals to make an annual $1 million contribution to DAP. DAP has earned a national reputation as one of the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS service providers in the United States. Revivals employees and dedicated volunteers create a unique retail experience for the 29,000 people who shop the stores each month looking for a unique thrift store find while shopping brand new furniture and accessories. “There’s an excitement in our stores that you don’t feel at traditional retailers.  Part of that is the thrill of the hunt, but there’s something else happening and I think that is connection to community.  Our volunteers have created a unique community of neighbors helping neighbors inside Revivals three store locations.  They know we are selling product with a purpose,” says Director of Brand Marketing, Steven Henke. 

Greater Palm Springs residents know and love Revivals Stores and have voted it as Best Resale \ Thrift \ Furniture \ Consignment\ or Vintage Clothing Store in four local reader contests this year.   Revivals Stores won Best Furniture Store and Best Consignment / Resale Store in Desert Sun’s 2019 Ultimate Pride Contest, Best Consignment / Resale Store in Desert Magazine’s 2019 Best of the Valley, Best Thrift Store in CV Independents 2019 Best of Coachella Valley Contest, Best Thrift Store in GED Magazines 2019 Out Awards Contest, and Best Consignment / Best Thrift Store and Best Vintage Clothing Store in Palm Springs Life’s 2018 Best of the Best Contest.  

 
 Visit to learn more: desertaidsproject.org and revivalsstores.com 

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PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 26, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

New HIV infections are continuing in our Valley, and years of our work to reverse this trend are in danger unless we offer the public every prevention method we can.

Most of our clients who are using PrEP to prevent HIV are on the daily dose, and this remains the most effective regiment. For a few, daily dosing is not an option, and we believe in making this lifesaving therapy available to them.

Clinical data indicates that while daily PrEP has shown to be 99% effective in preventing HIV, PrEP 2-1-1 has been shown to be up to 86% effective. 

With medication delivery, telephone consults, and sanitized stations for periodic STI testing, clients are preventing HIV while being safely served. You can learn more here.

Seniors Need Protection--Less Isolation

Specialists say social isolation can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but many people over age 65 in our community are trapped with long-term social seclusion, worsened by this pandemic. We’ve created a medical home for them, with specialized doctors and therapists they can access from home, and a social services team to link them to programs and coverage.  

Seniors make up almost 30 percent of this Valley’s population, about double the national average. Because many already identified as physically vulnerable pre pandemic, seniors are experiencing added isolation from adhering to current social distance rules. 

As the length of this pandemic takes a toll on even the most resilient seniors, advocates like Dr. Jill Gover, our behavioral health manager contributed to a story in The Desert Sun:

"(Older people) are not willing to take the risk and so they are much more isolated — it was a major problem to begin with and COVID has only exacerbated it." (read more here)

Untreated HIV Still A Threat

We hope these numbers do not increase as the economy suffers, but people are still developing and dying from AIDS in 2020, right here in the Coachella Valley. Staying in treatment for HIV is not easy for many, but our medical team has the expertise and heart to help anyone re-enter care without judging them.

Our early intervention program had 160 referrals for attempts to find patients who had stopped filling their ART prescriptions, ceasing their HIV treatment without explanation. (Based on calendar year 2019) You can read more here about our work to make sure anyone needing HIV treatment can get it quickly.

Community Impact Newsletter September/Oc …

Community Impact Newsletter September/October 2020

Lifesaving HIV Meds Quicker Under New Rapid ART Program

DAP programs for promptly treating patients with HIV are being recognized again at the national level, and the result will save even more lives and prevent new cases. It also says a lot about our community, because without donor support, these programs are not possible.

Winning designation as a Rapid ART Implementation Site is an important milestone in the fight to end HIV. DAP stands with just 10 other healthcare organizations in the U.S. The Award for Special Projects Of National Significance was won in a competitive grant process and is bestowed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

By joining this national demonstration project and collaboration with HRSA, DAP will share its 36 years of experience in the fight to end HIV, and it will boost resources for its 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 had stopped ART for any reason.

Untreated HIV Threatens Coachella Valley

It’s a surprise to many, but people are still developing and even dying from AIDS in 2020, right here in the Coachella Valley. Our early intervention program had 160 referrals for attempts to find patients who had stopped filling their ART prescriptions, ceasing their HIV treatment without explanation. (Based on calendar year 2019)

Falling through the cracks means that some patients whose bodies had stabilized with life-saving HIV meds have stopped taking them, sometimes for five years or more. And for others, it means not starting therapy at all after receiving an HIV diagnosis.

Without accessing care, they are waiting until they are sick from HIV-related illnesses before attempting to resume ART and primary care.

Waiting to begin or resume ART always leaves a dangerous gap of time that could result in catastrophe, such as failing to ever adhere to medication therapy, or even death. Another consequence is the effect on others as sex partners are put at risk for HIV.

This collaboration with HRSA seeks to remedy the problem with a protocol that provides ART ASAP:

  • Same day as HIV diagnosis (some exceptions)
  • Quickly after request is made to resume therapy

The vast majority (about 80 percent) of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2016 were transmitted from the nearly 40 percent of people with HIV who either did not know they had HIV, or who received a diagnosis but were not receiving HIV care. (CDC)

According to Dr. Tulika Singh, DAP Associate Chief Medical Officer, not all physicians are permitted to treat their patients without administrative obstructions that derail health outcomes.

“Despite having extensive experience in HIV treatment and care, caregivers struggle to reduce high HIV prevalence and rising HIV incidence rates, due to delays in starting ART,” she says. “This is due to previous protocols and practicing traditional HIV medicine,” like having to do unnecessary lab work or jumping through hoops with insurance.

“No more!” says Dr. Singh.

Greater access for ART through this project will be enabled by DAP’s referral and linkage networks, with extensive arrangements with regional medical centers, community clinics and individual providers, in addition to this grant.

“We are able to provide rapid start ART for newly diagnosed persons living with HIV as early as the same day of diagnosis,” she says. “This will help us get to UN 90-90-90 goal sooner than anticipated and help our patients age in a healthy way.”

Getting Back On ART -- Helping Someone Find The Courage

Given what we know about the health consequences of stopping ART, the public health argument is strong for offering the resources to resume therapy quickly and without delay. This includes taking the time to make a personal connection, so that people can feel safe.

When it comes to why people fall out of care, “Every situation is so different,” says C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health at DAP.

Poverty affects most DAP clients, but it affects PLWHA uniquely. They might cope with denial, depression, and suicidal ideation. Stigma is often made worse by rejection from loved ones, and drug and alcohol abuse are more likely to increase.

But other factors may include housing insecurity, unemployment, lack of transportation, and fear of government due to immigration status. Being a recent transplant to the Palm Springs area from other parts of the U.S. also can also be a reason.

“People are also dying by not accessing all the things you need to make the medication keep working,” says Tobe.  “There’s a lot that goes into getting that treatment, starting with walking through those doors.”

In addition to ART, DAP helps patients thrive with HIV with access to social services they are eligible for, ensuring they receive needed food, housing, transportation, and home health care support if they need it.

U=U Helping End The Epidemic

The more people who are on treatment and undetectable, the fewer new transmissions there will be. According to Prevention Access founder Bruce Richman,

“We need access to treatment and removing barriers, not just for the wellbeing of people living with HIV,” he says. “But also, to prevent new transmissions.”

About U=U & Prevention Access Campaign

Prevention Access Campaign is a health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health. Find out more here.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) is a growing global community of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and over 990 Community Partners from 102 countries uniting to clarify and disseminate the revolutionary but largely unknown fact that people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV.  

About UNAIDS 90-90-90

 Removing barriers to ART is in support of UNAIDS 90-90-90, the global plan to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The goal is that globally,

90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, and  

90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and

90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

According to its 2020 update, “The response could be set back further, by 10 years or more, if the COVID-19 pandemic results in severe disruptions to HIV services.”

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.

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