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

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

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Media Alert

What:              Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is this weekend.

When:             Saturday and Sunday, October 23 & 24, 2020.

Where:            Online plus walk routes in Palm Springs and surrounding desert cities.

How:                Go to desertaidswalk.org for information and registration.

Why:                DAP needs community support for programs that offer our community:

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

Health & Wellness Virtual Forum
Brought to you by Walgreens

Learn more about DAP's programs and services, our sponsors, and community partners. Since we can't inform, educate, and entertain in person we created a virtual forum for you to learn more about DAP's programs and services, our dedicated community sponsors, and the extended work of our partners. We'll send you a link before the virtual doors open.

Multiple Ways to Walk your Walk

We invite you to walk the familiar route that traditionally kicks off at Ruth Hardy Park where you might see a few surprises, but there are so many wonderful parks and trails across the Coachella Valley, why not visit one or more. Walking is good for the heart and soul. Click here to download the Ruth Hardy route. Suggested parks and trails in other neighborhoods include:

Demuth Park (Palm Springs)

Panorama Park (Cathedral City)

Guy J. Tedesco Park (Desert Hot Springs)

Michael S. Wolfson Park "Butler-Abrams Trail" (Rancho Mirage)

Civic Center Park (Palm Desert)

Bagdouma Park (Coachella)

South Jackson Park (Indio)

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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$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.

Flu Vaccination at DAP Suggested by Octo …

Flu Vaccination at DAP Suggested by October 1, 2020

Easy Flu Shots Protect All Season Long

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

Flu season starts in late fall, and getting your vaccination is recommended by October 1, 2020.

Why Is A Flu Shot So Important?

By missing a flu shot, as many as 50 million Americans may catch influenza this year, but now it can be much deadlier. Serious complications from the flu are deadly enough to kill over 34,000 people in the U.S. every year. (CDC)

Experts warn that it is possible to catch the flu on top of a COVID, but a flu shot makes a huge difference.

Everyone should get a flu shot, but especially if they are 65 years and older or living with:

    • HIV/AIDS
    • diabetes
    • heart disease
    • serious overweight issue (40 BMI)
    • HCV
    • cancer

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.

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.

If you have the flu

It is important to seek immediate care from your DAP doctor for flu-like symptoms by logging onto MyChart, or by calling (760) 323-2118.

You can also call our COVID Clinic to discuss your symptoms and find out if our respiratory treatment options are right for you.

Treatment provided for upper and lower respiratory infections at DAP’s COVID Clinic includes:

    • Oxygen Therapy for patients who have lower than normal levels
    • Nebulizer treatments to open airways and address shortness of breath
    • IV Fluids for dehydration
    • Fever control with medication
    • Community Acquired Pneumonia Treatment – Injection of antibiotics and ability to prescribe medications to our DAP Walgreens (overnight home delivery available)
    • Influenza A & B testing and treatment
    • Strep Throat testing and treatment

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. 

Check-in with your doctor about other shots you might need

Depending on your age and certain risk factors, other immunizations may be needed. This is a good time to make sure you are current on immunizations by discussing it with your doctor (examples include bacterial Pneumonia and Hepatitis vaccines).

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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.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

Sexual Health Clinic - Palm Springs

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM (Closed for lunch from noon-1:00 PM)

Call 760-992-0492 to schedule an appointment.

To reach our after-hours answering service, please call (760) 323-2118.

DAP Patients Will Get HIV Meds Quicker U …

DAP Patients Will Get HIV Meds Quicker Under New Rapid ART Program

Palm Springs, CA (September 3, 2020) -- DAP has reached an important milestone in the fight to end HIV, winning designation as a Rapid ART Implementation Site, standing 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.

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.”

The Courage To Resume ART
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.

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 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. 

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.”

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DAP earns “LGBTQ Health Care Equality …

DAP earns “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer” Designation in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index

Palm Springs, CA (September 3, 2020) -- DAP has earned “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). The designation is in the 13th edition of HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), released in August. A record 765 health care facilities actively participated in the HEI 2020 survey. Of those included in the HEI, 193 earned an “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Top Performer” designation.

“When we started 36 years ago, HIV rights and the fight for medical access were synonymous with LGBTQ rights,” said David Brinkman, DAP CEO. “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.” 

Every year, HRC recognizes the health care facilities that participate in the HEI for their dedication and commitment to LGBTQ inclusion. HRC also extends its deepest gratitude to these facilities for their courageous fight against COVID-19 and their commitment to addressing racism and injustice. As the final HEI surveys were submitted in March, health care facilities were kicking into overdrive to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Many faced a lack of equipment, staffing shortages and surging demand. Two months later, as the fight against COVID-19 continued, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers thrust America’s structural racism into the spotlight. HEI participants issued strong statements on racial justice and equity, participated in White Coats for Black Lives demonstrations and announced new programs to address racial inequities in their institutions and their communities.

In the 2020 report, an impressive 495 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Health Care Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 193 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 90% of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.

The remarkable progress reflected in the 2020 HEI includes:

  • 92% of participants met the HEI's training requirements, completing more than 150,000 hours of staff training in LGBTQ patient-centered care.
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their patient non-discrimination policy.
  • 99% of HEI participants documented that they include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their employment nondiscrimination policy.
  • 53% of HEI participants indicated that their facility has a policy or policies that specifically outline procedures and practices aimed at eliminating bias and insensitivity, and ensuring appropriate, welcoming interactions with transgender patients.
  • After many years of trailing their corporate counterparts in the provision of transgender-inclusive health care benefits for employees, HEI participating healthcare facilities are nearly on par with the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) participants as 80% have at least one health care plan that offered this benefit. The latest CEI noted 85% of participants having such benefits.

In addition to active survey participants, the HRC Foundation proactively researched the key policies at over 1,000 non-participating hospitals. Unfortunately, the adoption rate at these researched hospitals stands in stark contrast to the near-perfect adoption by active participants. Among the researched hospitals in which we were able to find or obtain enumerated patient non-discrimination policies, only 67% have policies that include both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” and only 63% were found to have an LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policy. The equal visitation policy, at 93%, is the only one that comes close to matching the rate of the participating facilities.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the education arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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DAP Focused on Equal Access to Lifesavin …

DAP Focused on Equal Access to Lifesaving Information During Pandemic 

(Palm Springs, CA) August 12, 2020 -- More than ever, people need information to make the best choices for their health, and DAP has launched two new resources on its website aimed at keeping our community informed in a timely manner.  

“The pandemic proves that access to healthcare and information has not been equal in every community,” said DAP CEO David Brinkman. “And that inequality is driving poor health outcomes for people of color and people living in poverty.”

Created by DAP subject matter experts, these resources provide need-to-know information for anyone interested in the services DAP is known for, as well as anyone looking for resources to report about DAP or Revivals Stores for news stories. Materials are offered in English and en Español. 

DAP is making information about its life sustaining services more available than ever by bringing our collection of patient literature onto our website with our new Community Health Resources page.  

Each piece of literature can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF to save or share.  And if you’re a member of the media looking for story resources like B-roll, stock photos, plus a lot more, our new online DAP Media Kit has many of the elements needed to tell new stories about DAP or Revivals Stores. 

We Support Vigorous Storytelling 

About DAP Online Media Kit 

The DAP Media Kit is your one stop resource if you are a member of the press working on a story about DAP or Revivals Stores.  

In addition to media contact information, the kit offers: 

  • help with your newsgathering efforts
  • information on setting up an interview
  • DAP and Revivals Stores logos, images, and video for your story
  • social media channels

What the Community Health Resource Page Provides 

Topics include a COVID-19, HIV, STIs, Transgender Health, HCV and more. They include: 

COVID-19 Resource Guide 

Thriving with HIV: 

  • Living with HIV
  • HIV After Diagnosis

Preventing new cases: 

  • HIV Prevention
  • PrEP
  • PEP

Transgender Healthcare 

  • Safer Tucking
  • Safe Binding 
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Hepatitis C 

Sexual Health 

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis

Youth Resource Guide 

DAP has learned a lot in 36 years of providing healthcare to the Coachella Valley, with an emphasis on helping people with HIV thrive, and ending new transmissions in our community. We invite you to use and share the resources on these pages. If you would like more information on any health topic, please call to speak to a specialist at 760-323-2118

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.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

DAP Docs: HIV Won’t Stop COVID-19 Vacc …

Dr Tulika Singh

DAP Docs: HIV Won’t Stop COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Participation 

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

PLWH are commonly overlooked as subjects in pharmaceutical studies and vaccine research, so our doctors practice extra caution when choosing medicines for patients. But when they learned that PLWH were being left out of two COVID-19 vaccine trials, they mobilized.

Thanks to our team joining forces with other LGBTQ and HIV advocates, biotech companies have reversed their policies. In a study protocol change, people living with stable HIV will now be included in the trials.

Reasons for excluding this group include assuming that PLWH are weakened physically, but after more than a decade of providing HIV care, Dr. Singh knows this to be a generalization. Today, people on antiretroviral medications have strong immune systems, thanks to viral suppression. They are suitable candidates for these studies.

According to Dr. Singh, there is a risk when PLWH are not included in these studies.

“This is a disservice to them, as what works for non-positive people might not work in PLWH,” she said. “But we wouldn’t know until it fails or is unsafe in this population, and it’s too late by then.”

Without having PLWH represented in COVID-19 vaccine trials, we won’t have an accurate picture of how PLWH will respond to the intervention in the real world, according to Dr. Singh.

It’s important to know, because despite the miracle of modern ART, doctors still monitor their patients for immune dysfunction, persistent inflammation, and evolving host microbiome issues caused by the HIV virus and medications.

Please click here to learn more about Research at DAP, including ANCHOR Study, which is resuming soon.

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering 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.

Spike in HIV and STIs Troubles Preventio …

Spike in HIV and STIs Troubles Prevention Experts at DAP

Palm Springs, CA (July 16, 2020) -- Steadily rising rates of HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia in the Coachella Valley are showing that the last five months of living in the “new normal” has interfered with people taking care of their sexual health. These rates pose a significant threat to our community, one that is already fatigued from socially isolating and nervous about coming indoors for testing and medical visits.

By using DAP’s new at-home HIV testing resources, clients no longer have to put their health on hold if they are sheltering in place. Anyone interested in using these resources or have questions about accessing sexually health services should email testing@desertaidsproject.org or contact April Cruz, Community Health Diagnostic Testing & Outreach Manager at 760-656-8425.

DAP Testing data from June shows why community health experts have reason to worry. According to DAP, there were:

  • Triple the amount of new HIV infections, compared to any other month in the last year and-a-half,
  • Double the amount of new syphilis infections compared to May,
  • Double the chlamydia cases (a six-month trend!).

“If we take our finger off the pulse of the existing HIV and STI epidemic, we will undo the progress we’ve made in preventing new transmissions,” said C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health. “The lack of routine testing and treatment is only going to add to the tragedy of COVID-19.”

What Is A Syndemic?

Together, HIV, HCV and STIs create a syndemic—a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes.

For example, having an STD increases the likelihood of acquiring HIV.  Among people who are living with HCV and HIV, HCV progresses faster and more than triples the risk for liver disease, liver failure, and liver related death. These epidemics are also driven by similar social and economic conditions and disproportionately impact many of the same disadvantaged communities.

DAP is part of End The Epidemics, a statewide working group of approximately 160 public health and community organizations urging Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to empower key stakeholders as soon as possible to fund and implement California’s strategy to end the HIV, HCV, and STI epidemics.

About End The Epidemics

The California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers, together with HIV, viral hepatitis, and STD community-based organizations across California, have launched a community-driven effort to inform development of a statewide plan to end the HIV, HCV, and STD epidemics in California. What makes this initiative innovative and unique – in addition to community leadership – is its ambitious goal of addressing these health conditions as a syndemic – a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes. The syndemic approach differs from the biomedical approach in that it treats diseases concurrently and also addresses the social determinants of health that drive these epidemics. To learn more, visit: www.chprc.org/end-the-epidemics/

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Community 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 STD testing and treatment for only $25 per visit, 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 sixth 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.

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