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

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

DAP Patients Joining ANCHOR Study for An …

DAP Patients Joining ANCHOR Study for Anal Health

(Palm Springs, CA) October 21, 2020 -- There are only four places on the entire West Coast where people living with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA) can participate in The ANCHOR Study, and DAP Health Center is one of them. HPV-related anal cancer disproportionately harms PLWHA, especially cisgender gay men and transgender women. Unfortunately, prevention, treatment and support are difficult for them to find. Now, DAP patients can receive long term screenings and treatment, thanks to our designation as an ANCHOR Study site.

DAP medical and research clinicians worked hard to earn a place in this groundbreaking project. ANCHOR Study seeks to stop cases of preventable anal cancer in PLWHA by establishing testing and treatment protocols.

There are 40 participants enrolled at DAP so far, and “the team is welcoming more,” according to Dr. David Morris, chief medical officer. Participants are paid $100 per study visit to compensate for time, effort, and travel expenses.

For many DAP patients living with HIV, screening and treatment for a variety of cancers is part of their continuum of HIV care. If they take part in ANCHOR Study, they will monitor and support their anal health with top doctors and researchers, staying in contact for five-to-eight years. They will be contributing to groundbreaking scientific research that will help save lives in the future.

Living with HIV puts many of our patients at higher risk for anal cancer, even if they are on successful antiretroviral therapy (ART). ANCHOR Study aims to show treatment of pre-cancerous cells will lead to a reduction of 75% of incident HPV-related anal cancer.

Anyone interested in the ANCHOR Study is invited to contact Greg Jackson, DAP research coordinator, at (760) 992-0445 or gjackson@desertaidsproject.org. To read more about ANCHOR Study at DAP click here.

More about ANCHOR Study

"No one knew that cervical cancer was preventable before the use of Pap smears became widespread in the 1960s and cut the incidence of the disease by 80 percent."- Dr. Joel Palefsky, Principal Investigator

While deaths from AIDS are way down, anal cancer among people living with HIV is on the rise. We think that anal cancer can be prevented by routine screening and removal of precancerous cells. This strategy has reduced cervical cancer rates by 80%. But to get the insurance companies to cover routine anal cancer screening and preventative treatment, we need to prove that this strategy actually prevents cancer. The best way to show that is to recruit people with High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (or HSIL for short) into a study and assign them randomly to a treatment arm or a monitoring arm. We then follow everyone for five years to compare the rates of cancer in both study arms. At the end of the study we’ll know whether screening and treatment of HSIL are effective strategies in preventing anal cancer. We’ll also learn a lot about HPV and other risk factors and why these sometimes cause cancer.

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.

 

###

 

2020 Election California Ballot Proposit …

2020 Election California Ballot Propositions

  • Is an Uber/Lyft driver entitled to vacation pay, sick leave?
  • Does a dialysis center need a physician on staff?
  • If in inherit property from my parents, what is my property tax base?
  • If I’m arrested do I need to pay CASH bail?

All these questions and more are on the 2020 California ballot under citizens initiatives (or Propositions).  Often confusing and misleading titles, CA is infamous for these initiatives and it’s up to YOU to votes YEA or NAY.  Attached is a simple (I hope) explanation for each initiative (completely non-partisan) to help inform you when you complete your ballot.

As a reminder, ALL registered voters in CA will receive a mail-in ballot NEXT WEEK!  If you changed addresses in 2020 you will need to register. Voter registration deadline is October 19th!  If you would like additional information on any of the propositions, please call or email me. 

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE (and sign your ballot when/if you mail it in).

Prop 14 Stem Cell Bond Issue

What

Background

Issues $5.5 Billion in bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) "stem cell"

In 2004 voters approved Prop 71 which created CIRM and $3Billion in funds for stem cell research. Only $132M in funds remain

YES vote=

Supports issuing a $5.5B General Obligation Bond for the state's stem cell research institute for diseases such as: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and dementia.

NO vote=

Opposes issuing $5.5B bond

Prop 15 Tax on Commercial/Industrial Properties [NOTE: This DOES NOT affect residential properties at all]

What

Amends the state constitution to require commercial and industrial properties (except agricultural) to be taxed on their fair market value.

Background

In 1978 Prop 13 put a cap on residential, commercial and industrial properties taxed based on purchase price. The tax increase is limited to 1% of the original purchase price with annual adjustment equal to inflation or 2% (whichever is lower). This bill would maintain the property tax cap for residential properties ONLY. The increased revenues to the state would be directed to education and public health. Expected revenue benefit of $8B - $12.5B per year.

YES Vote =

Support constitutional amendment commercial and industrial properties would be taxed at CURRENT fair market value rather than original purchase price.

NO Vote =

Opposes constitutional amendment and maintain current property tax at original purchase price.

Prop 16 Repeal Proposition 209 (1996) Affirmative Action Amendment

What

Amends the state constitution by repealing Prop 209 (1996) by allowing government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin to address diversity in the operation of public employment, education or contracting.

Background

In 1996 stated that discrimination and preferential treatment were prohibited in public employment, public education and public contracting on account of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

YES Vote =

Repeals Prop 209 (1996) and allows government to use race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin to address diversity in public employment, education and/or contracting.

NO Vote =

Opposes constitutional amendment and maintains current practice of NOT using race, sex, color, etc. in public employment, education and/or contracting.

Prop 17 Voting Rights Restoration for Paroles

What

Amends the state constitution to allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote

Background

Currently people on parole for felonies are disqualified from participating from voting until imprisonment and parole are completed. If passed, felons who are on parole would be able to vote.

YES Vote =

Amends state constitution to allow felons on parole to vote.

NO Vote =

Opposes constitutional amendment and prevents people on parole for felony convictions from voting.

Prop 19 Property Tax Transfers

What

Changes the rules for tax assessment transfers. Allows "eligible" (over 55-years-old, disabled, victims of natural disasters) homeowners to transfer tax assessment to different home of the same or lower fair market value - thus allowing them to move without paying higher taxes.

Background

Currently grandparents and/or parents can transfer primary residential properties to their children or grandchildren without the property tax assessment resetting to market value.

YES Vote =

Increases property tax to fair market value on inherited property tax if not used for primary residence.

NO Vote =

Opposes the constitutional amendment and maintains property transfer without upward adjustment of property tax.

Prop 20 Criminal Sentencing, Parole and DNA Collection

What

Amends several criminal sentencing and supervision laws. Specific type of theft and fraud crimes (firearm theft, vehicle theft, unlawful use of credit card) as felons rather than misdemeanors.

YES Vote =

Supports initiative to add crimes to the list of violent felonies; also requires DNA collection for certain misdemeanors.

NO Vote =

Opposes initiative to add crimes to list of violent felons.

Prop 21 Local Rent Control

What

Allows local governments to enact rent control

Background

In 1995 a law (Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act) was passed allowing landlords to increase rent prices to market rates after a tenant moves out. This measure would replace Costa-Hawkins. Additionally, in 2018 voters rejected Prop 10 which would have allowed local governments to adopt rent control on any type of rental housing. [AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) was behind Prop 10 and also sponsors Prop 21]

YES Vote =

Allows local governments to enact rent control on housing first occupied over 15 years ago (with exception for landlords who own less than 2 homes).

NO Vote =

Opposes ballot initiative, thereby continuing to prohibit rent control on housing first occupied after 2/1/95.

Prop 22 App-Based Drivers/Independent Contractors (UBER/LYFT)

What

App-based drivers (e.g. Uber/Lyft) to be considered Independent Contractors and NOT employees.

Background

In 2019 AB 5 passed which defined Independent Contractors based upon a 3-prong test: a)worker is free from company control; b)work done is not in the company's usual course of business; and c) worker engaged in established trade, business of same nature as work performed. [Basically, the state made it very difficult for someone to be an Independent Contractor based upon the idea the employers were taking advantage of independent contractors by now calling them employees and thereby forgoing sick time, vacation pay, etc.]

YES Vote =

Defines app-based drivers as Independent Contractors (the way things are currently)

NO Vote =

Opposes ballot initiative deferring to AB 5 to decide whether app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors

Prop 23 Dialysis Clinic Requirements

What

Requires dialysis clinics to have at least one licensed physician to be present (or nurse practitioner or PA if shortage of doctors); report data on dialysis related infections to state health dept.; prohibits closing dialysis clinic without state approval; prohibits clinics from refusing to treat patients based on source of payment for care.

Background

In 2018, voters rejected Prop 8 which would have required dialysis clinics to issue refunds to patients for profits in excess of 115% of the cost of direct patient care. Prop 8 was sponsored by SEIU labor union and pitted them against DaVita the largest private dialysis provider in the area. SEIU supports Prop 23 also.

YES Vote =

Requires dialysis clinics to have physician (or functional equivalent) on site; report infections to state department of health and notify state before closing.

NO Vote =

Opposes ballot initiative and keeps things as they are

Prop 24 Consumer Personal Information Law

What

Expands consumer data privacy laws. Prevents businesses from sharing personal information; allows for consumer correction of inaccurate personal information; limits businesses' use of "sensitive personal information" including geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion sexual orientation, etc.

Background

In 2018 SF developer, Alastair Mactaggart, filed a similar measure but withdrew it after the legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy act of 2018 (CCPA). Mactaggart wants to expand the CCCPA with additional rights. Furthermore, ballot initiatives cannot be amended without the approval of the voters.

YES Vote =

Expands consumer data privacy laws including provisions to allow consumers to direct businesses NOT to share their personal information and creates the Privacy Protection Act to enforce consumer data privacy laws

NO Vote =

Opposes ballot initiative, things stay as they are now.

Prop 25 Cash Bail vs. Risk Assessment

What

This is a "Repeal Referendum" which would overturn the existing "risk assessment" method used by California courts (in place of cash bail) and return to a cash bail system.

Background

In 2018 SB 10 was signed into law by Gov. Brown. SB 10 made California the first state to end cash bail for all detained suspects awaiting trial. In the alternative to cash bail, a "risk assessment" is used to determine whether a detained suspect should be granted pretrial release and under what conditions. This initiative is a "VETO REFERENDUM" to overturn SB 10. The backers are primarily the bail bond companies. [There are an overabundance of moving parts here. But the bottom line is to use an alternative to cash bails. On the one hand, the bail bond companies obviously want to return to cash bail; on the other hand, many civil liberty organizations do not like the "risk assessment" tool currently in place; many consider it racially biased and left to the discretion of judges. However, this referendum does not offer an alternative to cash bail].

YES Vote =

Upholds SB 10 which replaced cash bail with a risk assessment.

NO Vote = 

Repeals SB 10 returning to cash bail system.

Aging Positively Conference Offers Hope

Aging Positively Conference Offers Hope

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, October 10 From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

Over half of people living with HIV in the United States are 50 or older (CDC), and they often experience age-related illnesses earlier. COVID has compounded this as we see loneliness, depression, and PTSD become more prevalent.

We have the resources to help PLWHA thrive, and this year’s Aging Positively Conference is filling an important need for information and connection during COVID. DAP clinicians will be presenting topics for practical hope and living during COVID: addressing HIV treatment, coping with isolation, and even advice on dating. 

We are looking forward to hearing long-term HIV survivor and Broadway star of Hamilton, Javier Muñoz, share how he is using his passion and creativity to make a huge difference with Broadway Relief.

You can join this virtual conference from the safety of your home on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To find out more, click here.

Community Health Team Is Standing Up to COVID

COVID fear has many people skipping periodic STI screenings and sometimes, even basic self-care like eating and keeping warm. Sanitized and souped-up, our mobile testing van is in business and ready to bring testing, treatment, and linkage to care to those most at risk. C.J. Tobe, director of community health described his team’s efforts for improving public health during COVID. You can hear him in this week’s DAP Talks.

DAP In the News

We’re All In It Together: Desert AIDS Walk 2020

As the need for our services grows, sources for funding them are dwindling, especially with COVID. This year has challenged us and all humanitarian organizations in ways we could not have imagined. Our Board Chair Patrick Jordan talked to NBC Palm Springs anchor Thalia Hayden about why Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is more important than ever. You can watch here.

COVID Can’t Stop DAP STI Testing and Treatment

If we let the pandemic get in our way to end HIV and STIs in this Valley, we will only be compounding the tragedy of COVID. Over decades of doing this work, we have learned that to educate, test, and treat always strengthens public health, and it requires meeting our patients in ways that work for them. C.J. Tobe talked to Maria Sestito at The Desert Sun about the rise in testing and treatment for some STIs, and the need to remove stigma from sex during COVID. You can read more here.

Funding Infusion for DAP Continuum of HI …

Funding Infusion for DAP Continuum of HIV Care and Testing

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, October 10 From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

If 90% of PLWHA begin antiretroviral treatment (ART) early enough, and they are consistently provided care, we will end HIV. Our work to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the Coachella Valley just received a big boost, thanks to a $1,250,000 grant from the San Bernardino County Human Services Administration Ending the Epidemic Initiative.

Over the five-year grant period, DAP will help reach the initiative’s goal to significantly reduce new HIV infections by 75%.

By sharing our best practices in testing, linkage to care, and keeping patients engaged in care for viral suppression, DAP is influencing improvements in treatment for PLWHA at a national level. 

You can read more here.

Why Darrell Tucci Believes in Desert AIDS Walk 2020

It’s hard to forget your first AIDS Walk, or your reason for participating that first time.  It could be to honor the special connections with people we lost, or because we wish to prevent suffering for someone we’ll never meet.

For some, walking to honor the memory of loved ones is only the beginning. Darrell Tucci, our Chief Development Officer described what led to his commitment and solidarity with others involved with ending the HIV epidemic. You can hear him in this week’s DAP Talks.

DAP In the News

Tour of New Blue and Green Clinics

Even as COVID shines a spotlight on serious healthcare inequalities everywhere, our new Blue and Green Clinics have expanded access to medical and mental care, plus wraparound services.

Our Director of Brand Marketing Steven Henke took NBC Palm Springs’ Taylor Martinez on a tour of the new clinics and talked about our work to continue expanding access during this pandemic.  

Still Made for Walking

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is giving people more ways to feel connected to each other with selfie stops along the traditional Palm Springs route and plenty of space for socially distanced viewing of public art installations from local and international artists. The approach will help walkers reconnect with the beauty of our city in an outdoor setting with safety in mind.

Steven Henke took NBC Palm Springs’ Taylor Martinez on a tour of the walk route, including some of the best selfie spots. 

Infusion of Support for HIV Continuum of …

Infusion of Support for HIV Continuum of Care at DAP

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

Palm Springs, CA (October 8, 2020) – DAP Health Center just received a big boost for its work to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the Coachella Valley, thanks to a $1,250,000 grant from the San Bernardino County Human Services Administration Ending the Epidemic Initiative.

Over the five-year grant period, DAP will help reach the initiative’s goal to significantly reduce new HIV infections by 75%.

This service delivery project will explore how much viral suppression outcomes are determined by improving linkage to care and retention in care.

It will closely follow DAP’s full HIV care continuum: testing, linkage into care after testing positive, being engaged in medical and mental healthcare, dentistry, social services, prescriptions access, and finally, documented viral suppression.

Drawing upon DAP’s current treatment protocols, and leveraging resources from the grant, work on this project will improve health outcomes for PLWHA. By cutting the time between diagnoses of HIV and entry into care, and making medication available quicker, less people will fall out of care. This also will decrease HIV transmission rates.

Despite COVID, reaching HIV testing and treatment targets for PLWHA remains an essential part of ending the HIV pandemic.

“If 90% of PLWHA begin antiretroviral treatment (ART) early enough, and they are consistently provided care, we will end HIV,” said David Brinkman, CEO.

Increasing viral suppression in our community is an important step in support of global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

UNAIDS 90-90-90 Initiative seeks to end HIV by reaching targets for testing, access to medication, and viral suppression.

About Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. The initiative aims to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90% by 2030. Ending the HIV Epidemic leverages critical scientific advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and outbreak response by coordinating the highly successful programs, resources, and infrastructure of many HHS agencies and offices and providing a targeted infusion of new resources and support to the jurisdictions most heavily impacted. 

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

Increasing viral suppression in our community 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.”

About DAP Health Center

DAP Health Center (DAP) in Palm Springs, CA offers 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.daphealth.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

###

$1 Million Granted by HRSA for DAP Upgra …

$1 Million Granted by HRSA for DAP Upgrades

New Generator for Power & HVAC Service in Emergencies

Palm Springs, CA (September 30, 2020) -- Soon, DAP Health Center (DAP) can respond and recover with uninterrupted service to patients in the event of a disaster or other emergency that results in power loss, thanks to a $1 million dollar grant from HRSA’s Capital Assistance for Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts (CADRE).

The medical team at DAP is trained at delivering emergency and disaster-related medical aid to the community, and this award will help ensure it has a backup power source and functioning HVAC it needs in such times.

Over the three-year grant period, DAP will replace eight outdated HVAC units and install a new emergency generator capable of supporting clinic operations. The alternative power source will keep HVAC units running, electronic health records accessible, and will preserve life-saving medications and vaccinations requiring refrigeration.

When the Coachella Valley area experienced power outages from severe flooding in winter 2019, DAP leadership grew concerned about how future outages might affect its ability to deliver needed services during an emergency, especially in its new Blue and Green Clinics.

The new clinics on the DAP campus, opened in March 2020, added an additional 30,000 square feet of clinic space. They alleviated a severe capacity challenge that was limiting DAP’s ability to serve ever increasing numbers of patients needing services.

Riverside County, where DAP delivers HIV testing, linkage to care, and treatment services, has been identified as one of the 48 counties in the United States with the highest burden of HIV infection. No other FQHC in Riverside County has been awarded a grant this size for this purpose by HRSA.

About HRSA

Tens of millions of Americans receive quality, affordable health care and other services through HRSA's 90-plus programs and more than 3,000 grantees.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

HRSA programs help those in need of high-quality primary health care, people with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, and mothers. HRSA also supports the training of health professionals, the distribution of providers to areas where they are needed most and improvements in health care delivery.

HRSA oversees organ, bone marrow and cord blood donation. It compensates individuals harmed by vaccination, and maintains databases that protect against health care malpractice, waste, fraud and abuse.

About DAP Health Center

DAP Health Center (DAP) in Palm Springs, CA offers 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.daphealth.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

2020 Voter Information

2020 Voter Information

Due to the pandemic, all Californians with active voter registrations will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Elections offices will send out vote-by-mail ballots by October 5. Confirm your registration to make sure elections officials have your current mailing address and language preference.

You can also vote in person in all Southern California counties. Below is a summary of your options to cast a ballot this November. Find more information below about your county.

Cast Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

Casting your vote-by-mail ballot will allow you to vote safely and will reduce crowding at polling locations or vote centers for individuals who need to or prefer to vote in-person. You can return a completed vote-by-mail ballot on or before Election Day by:

  • Mailing it to your local elections office Mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, November 3, 2020. There is no postage required to return a vote-by-mail ballot.
  • Dropping it off at your local elections office or at any ballot drop box, polling place, or vote center.
    • Palm Springs City Hall and Demuth Community Center
    • Cathedral City 68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero and Date Palm Country Club
    • Banning: 99 E. Ramsey St.
    • Beaumont: 440 E 6th St.
    • Hemet: 445 E. Florida Ave; Seven Hills Members Club; Valley Vista Library
    • Desert Hot Springs: 11999 Palm Drive
    • Rancho Mirage: 69825 Hwy 111
    • Palm Desert: PD City Hall
    • Indo: City Hall; Indo Corporate Yard; Indio Public Library 200 Civic Center Mall]

Vote-by-mail is a safe and secure option. Remember to sign your vote-by-mail envelope. You can track your vote-by-mail ballot to make sure it’s counted.

Voting Options by Southern California County

In California, you can always vote-by-mail by Election Day. If you decide to vote in-person or drop-off your ballot, you have options. Select your Southern California county of residence to learn more:

Riverside County

San Bernardino County

  • Polling Place. San Bernardino County will use a polling location model this November. There will be 210 polling locations. Voters will receive a polling “assignment” printed on the back of their Voter Information Guide, but they will be able to vote in-person or drop-off a ballot at any of the County’s 210 polling locations. A select number of locations will be available for early voting beginning October 26, and the rest will be available beginning October 31. Polling locations will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the early voting period. On Election Day, polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Ballot Drop-Box. San Bernardino County plans to have 70 secure Ballot Drop-off locations available beginning October 6.
  • See the final list of polling locations and Ballot Drop-Off locations in San Bernardino County as they are updated.

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.

Accessing PrEP During COVID-19

Accessing PrEP During COVID-19 

Getting on PrEP at DAP is easy. We offer help with insurance and discount programs, and our navigators and doctors give you specialized attention to find out what works best for you as an individual. 

Most of our clients who are using PrEP to prevent HIV are on the daily dose, and this remains the most effective regiment. 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. 

For a few, daily PrEP is not an option, and we believe in making this lifesaving therapy available to everyone. Your DAP doctor can tell you more. 

Under certain circumstances, PrEP 2-1-1, or PrEP-on-demand, is available at DAP. While we fight COVID-19, our doctors are also keeping their patients safer from HIV by finding new ways to protect their sexual health. 

During this period of lockdown, we make daily dosing easy for you. With medication delivery, telephone consults, and sanitized stations for periodic STI testing, clients are preventing HIV while being safely served. 

If you or someone you know wants to talk about PrEP, please call (760) 323-1999 to talk to a member of our team who’s ready to tell you more. You can also learn more here. 

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.”

X