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

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

For growing STI crisis, HIV, HCV and Pov …

Contact: Jack Bunting
jbunting@desertaidsproject.org
(760) 656-8472

At a time when the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports a 30 year high in STIs in California —particularly syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia—Desert AIDS Project (DAP) affirms that in addition to HIV and HCV, these are among the most serious public health issues facing Californians today.

DAP is in a unique position to apply the lessons it has learned over 35 years in HIV prevention, testing and treatment. With the increasing prevalence of Californians suffering from two or more of these infections simultaneously, we must no longer approach HIV, HCV, and STIs as if they belong in separate silos. Nor can we continue to overlook the roles that poverty and social isolation play in this crisis.

To end these epidemics, Californians need:    
   • Routinized education, testing and treatment for all five infections: HIV, HCV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.       
   • Access to ongoing medical and behavioral healthcare, and stable housing.
   • Community and wellness services for psychosocial support to avoid isolation and poor medical treatment adherence.

We represent our community’s voice in state and federal discussions, and constantly looking at new developments, models and funding sources to deploy new efforts in the Coachella Valley. Regardless of access to funding, our commitment to outreach through our community health department enables us to reach at-risk populations.

DAP is also 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.

“Funding is essential to fight the spread of newly acquired STIs in California, but it will not fix the entire problem,” said Carl Baker, director of legal and legislative affairs at DAP. “To test and link people to care, we have to meet them where they are; not where we wish they were.”

DAP staff provide testing and education in jails, prisons, drug rehabilitation centers and where our homeless neighbors live.

It also links clients to Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) as key strategies to decrease new infections. We know that regular STI testing that is part of the PrEP protocol identifies people who are infected with STIs who would not have been tested otherwise. 

In the Coachella Valley, and Palm Springs in particular, STIs are historically higher than the rest of the county, and have been rising steadily. Higher poverty rates than in the rest of California, plus a thriving tourism industry create an atmosphere for STIs to spread.

In 2018, Riverside County reported syphilis cases ran about 12 per 100,000 people. In the Coachella Valley: 32 cases per 100,000.

The numbers sharply increase in Palm Springs, with over 100 cases per 100,000, and especially North Palm Springs, with 185 cases per 100,000 people. (Riverside University Health System)

To address this trend, in May 2018 DAP lowered the price for testing and treatment for STIs to just $25, and no charge in extreme cases of lack of funds. Access to these services at other organizations in the Coachella Valley cost about seven-to-ten times as much, and prevents many from accessing testing and treatment.

Currently we are noticing about 30 additional clients per week at The DOCK for STI testing and treatment.

“Who knows how many of our clients would wait longer to get screening and treatment if they had to pay as much as ten times what The DOCK charges?” said C.J. Tobe, interim director of community health. “If our clients test positive, we can get them on treatment which is vital to stop the epidemics, and we can even go further, offering them ongoing primary medical and behavioral healthcare and other services.”

DAP knows from experience, and the CDC agrees, that our clients experience better health outcomes when they can access stable housing, and when they receive support to fight drug abuse, poverty, and stigma.

Besides accessing primary and behavioral healthcare, nutritious food and fighting isolation by connecting to other humans is also essential. Wellness services like yoga and chiropractic, and re-entering the workforce have shown to be essential to our clients as they rebound from an array of health challenges.

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.

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 Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services.  DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers 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.

Visit
www.desertaidsproject.org
www.thedockclinic.org
www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org
to learn more

You can quit smoking. We can help.

Join the American Lung Association’s eight-week quit smoking program, conveniently held at the Desert AIDS Project. Hundreds of thousands of people have become smoke-free through a Freedom From Smoking® Group Clinic which offers a structured, systematic approach to quitting smoking.

Overseen by a certified facilitator, you will learn:

  • How to know if you’re really ready to quit
  • Medications that can increase your success
  • Lifestyle changes to make quitting easier
  • How to prepare for your quit day
  • Coping strategies for managing stress & avoiding weight gain
  • How to stay smokefree for good

Freedom From Smoking Group Quit Program

Fridays (beginning on October 4, 2019) at 2:00 p.m.

Call (760) 992-0469 or email cpulver@desertaidsproject.org to RSVP. Our first session starts on Friday, October 4th at 2:00 p.m.

Visit Lung.org/ffs for more information about the program or our online Freedom From Smoking® Plus if a Group Clinic isn’t right for your quit.

MyChart Users – Important Information

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has transitioned from “OCHIN” to a Desert AIDS Project MyChart log-in page.
 
What do I need to do?
 
1. Switch from the OCHIN MyChart selection on your phone application to the new Desert AIDS Project MyChart selection
 
2. If using MyChart from a PC / Device, update any saved URL (web address) to this new URL (web address): https://mychart.ochin.org/mychartdap/
 
Call 760-323-2118, ext 711 and ask for Albert or Curtis if you have trouble with your username or password or if you have questions about the new MyChart.

D.A.P. Revises HIV Prevention Guidelines

For Immediate Release
April 25, 2017
Contact: Tom Tarr, Director of Client Development
Tel: 760-656-8460
Email: ttarr@desertaidsproject.org

Desert AIDS Project revises its prevention guidelines in light of support for new research

Desert AIDS Project joins other national HIV prevention organizations by embracing a recent policy statement of the National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). That policy titled, “Risk of Sexual Transmission of HIV from Virally Suppressed People Living with HIV” affirms the related scientific evidence and aligns prevention policy with that of many in the public health community.

“Recent research has shown that treating people with HIV and helping them maintain an undetectable viral load (less than 200 copies/ml) prevents the sexual transmission of HIV,” said Bruce Weiss, Director of Community Health at D.A.P. “The studies demonstrated no new transmissions occurred when the HIV positive partner was virally suppressed. This provides an additional prevention strategy for HIV-positive persons and their sexual partners which can also help end new HIV infections.”

In light of this new research, D.A.P. now recommends the following to prevent new HIV infections:

  • 1. Commitment to ongoing treatment for HIV – ongoing treatment for individuals with HIV is vital to the success of this prevention strategy
  • 2. Regular healthcare and viral load testing – staying healthy and regular testing is necessary for individuals utilizing this prevention strategy
  • 3. Steps need to be taken to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
    • Because of rising STI rates in the Coachella Valley, D.A.P. recommends that individuals having sex with more than one partner continue to use condoms. Condoms are the only proven strategy to help prevent new infections of STIs such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
    • Regular STI testing is also recommended at least every three months for those having sex with multiple partners, in order to detect infections early and ensure proper treatment.

“We’re excited about the confirmation of effectiveness that the research provides and the prevention community has embraced,” said David Morris, MD, Medical Director at D.A.P. “But to be effective, it’s important that people commit to taking their medicine as directed, as well as seeing a healthcare professional for regular monitoring and care. Without this commitment, this prevention strategy becomes ineffective.”

“It is important to increase awareness of this prevention strategy,” said Karen Mark, MD, Ph.D., Chief of the Office of AIDS in the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health. “We’ve made great strides in our efforts to prevent new HIV infections. This strategy can play a key role in ending or reducing HIV-related stigma and allow partners to select prevention methods that work best for their relationships.”

For more information about D.A.P.s policy, the NASTAD position, and related research, please visit these pages:

NASTAD Policy: Risk of Sexual Transmission of HIV from Virally Suppressed People Living with HIV
PARTNER Study: How to Interpret the Zero Transmission Results
HPTN 052: Study Summary

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering D.A.P. 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.  D.A.P.’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and free HIV and HCV testing. D.A.P.’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  D.A.P. is rated a “Top 20 HIV Charity” by About.com. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

# # #

Printable version: Desert AIDS Project Press statement Viral Suppression Prevention Strategy 04.25.2017

The Healing Power of Reiki

Looking for ways to relieve stress and increase your total health?  Explore the healing benefits of Reiki.

What is Reiki? Reiki is a Japanese healing technique based on the principle that the Reiki therapist can channel energy from the patient by means of touch to activate the natural healing process of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being. Known for helping to relieve stress and promote healing, Reiki is one of many ways to take care of your total health.

Reiki

During sessions, Reiki practitioners apply the Reiki healing technique by channeling energy into the patients by means of touch to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.

While Reiki is not a stand-alone treatment, it compliments medical treatment in many ways including; helping to increase energy levels, reducing blood pressure, supporting spiritual growth, and helping the body relieve stress.

D.A.P. Total Care is proud to offer free Reiki services by Reiki Master John Strobel at the Client Wellness Services Center to all patients of D.A.P.

Reiki services are available by appointment only on Thursday and Friday of each week between 10:30AM – 12:00PM in the Meditation Room. Please call Curtis Howard 1-760-656-8414 to reserve your Reiki session with John.

New, more convenient hours at The DOCK!

Staying in control of your sexual health just got a whole lot easier!

The DOCK, a sexual health clinic staffed by and situated at Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs, has announced a new, more convenient schedule beginning Tuesday, September 6th, the day after Labor Day.

Our new, more convenient schedule hours will make it easier for people to access the care they need – when they need it.

The new hours will be Monday-Friday from 10:00AM to 6:30PM for all services. The new schedule will make it easier for people to access services after work, or even during their lunch break. As an added convenience, patients can walk in, with no appointment necessary.

The DOCK New Hours

“When our patients ask, we listen,” said David Morris, MD, Medical Director of The DOCK. “For sexual health treatment and prevention services, accessibility and convenience aren’t trivial – they’re key to better health outcomes.”

The DOCK provides STD testing and treatment, free and confidential HIV and Hepatitis C testing, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent the acquisition of HIV.

As the clinic has become better known and more popular, an increasing number of patients and community members have asked the clinic to stay open all day (with no lunch break) and to extend hours into the early evening.

The DOCK is located at 1695 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs. Its unique, trademark entryway is via the loading dock ramp on the south side of the Desert AIDS Project building.

For more information, please visit www.thedockclinic.org.

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