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

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

Stepping Up For Patient Access Now and T …

Stepping Up for Patient Access Now and Tomorrow

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, October 24 From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

Anal Cancer ANCHOR Study at DAP 

Living with HIV puts many of our patients at higher risk for anal cancer, even if they are on successful antiretroviral therapy (ART). This type of cancer is on the rise for PLWHA, but DAP patients can receive long term screenings and treatment, thanks to our designation as an ANCHOR Study site.  

Our medical and research teams worked to secure DAP a place in this nationwide study, and participants can take pride knowing that they are helping improve care for future patients. ANCHOR Study seeks to stop cases of preventable anal cancer in PLWHA by establishing testing and treatment protocols. We have almost 40 participants enrolled so far, and we are welcoming more. Click here to read more here.

Advocacy Keeps Our Patients on Top  

COVID has increased poverty and is exposing more inequities in healthcare for PLWHA. Whether fighting to decriminalize HIV, securing access to telemedicine for patients, or funding for our most vulnerable programs, DAP advocacy in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., improves our patients’ quality of life. 

Carl Baker, our director of legislative and legal affairs, wants to urge everyone to remember that our politicians work for all of us, especially the patients of DAP. He shared about his activities to amplify DAP’s voice and how he can help patients communicate their needs to our politicians directly. You can listen to Carl in this DAP Talks 

Not Too Late for Desert AIDS Walk 2020 

Even though it happens this weekend, you can still register and participate in Desert AIDS Walk 2020. Steven Henke, our director of brand marketing, talked to Taylor Martinez on NBC and shared messages from community members about why they walk. You can watch him here 

DAP Makes Hope Mobile with Orange Van Tour  

Part of what makes DAP so important to this community are the skilled clinicians and community health team members who use our distinctive orange van to bring hope and health to many in our Valley who cannot make it to our campus. C.J. Tobe, director of Community Health, and Izabel Doublin, PrEP navigator, gave Taylor Martinez of NBC Palm Springs a tour. You can watch them here. 

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. 

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Timothy …

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Timothy Ray Brown 1966-2020

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, October 3, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

As of 2019, there were approximately 38 million people across the globe living with HIV / AIDS, and yet we still do not have a cure or a vaccine. (UNAIDS)

Timothy Ray Brown showed us that there is hope for a cure. As he requested, we will keep fighting for one that works for everyone. 

Timothy’s life was more than that of the Berlin Patient. The physical subject of countless scientific studies, Timothy welcomed and endured extensive testing to advance cure research.  He will be remembered for his quiet courage and his desire to make his good fortune a benefit to others. 

You can watch Timothy being interviewed on the red carpet at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards in 2015 by clicking here.

Gratitude for HRSA CADRE Grant

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

But now, DAP Health Center will have a new, sufficiently sized generator to provide an alternative power source in the event of a disaster or other emergency that results in power loss, and HVAC units that will serve the Blue and Green Clinics.

Thanks to a $1 million dollar grant from HRSA’s Capital Assistance for Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts (CADRE), DAP can now respond and recover from future emergencies without interrupting service to patients. You can read more here

Voting and Census

Voting this year is more important than ever. Locally, we will choose a representative for the U.S. House, a state assembly person, two Palm Springs city council members, and several state propositions.

Also, there is still time to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census, an opportunity to help claim our Valley’s fair share of $675 billion per year in federal funds for a variety of projects and benefits for people who live here.

You can listen above to Carl Baker, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs, explain what you need to know in the most recent DAP Talks. 

Register to Vote here: https://registertovote.ca.gov/
Take the 2020 Census here: https://2020census.gov/en.html

Using Tools That We Trust

Using Tools That We Trust 

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

Committed to Preventing Flu  

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

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

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

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

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

Questions About Flu? Call Us! 

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

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way for COVID Response 

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

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

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

Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020

Hope is Theme of Desert AIDS Walk 2020  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAP Talks  

Suicide Prevention 

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

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

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.  

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

DAP In The News 

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

Sharing what we know to help others grow

Sharing what we know to help others grow

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

We Won Rapid ART Implementation Site Status By HRSA

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

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

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

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

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

Affirmation From HRC

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

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

Saying I Love You To Palm Springs

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

Our 36th Birthday

Our 36th Birthday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAP In The News

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

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

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

Joining Together To Do More

Joining Together To Do More

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, August 15, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

Rallying For PLWHA In COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

PLWHA 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 PLWHA were being left out of two COVID-19 vaccine trials, they mobilized.

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

Valley Transgender Leadership Joined for BORN TO BE Screening and Panel

Our transgender siblings are at greater risk for HIV than the general population, and the many barriers they face accessing healthcare have only increased with COVID-19. We insist on changing this for the better, and we know from our history that when we join with other likeminded organizations for the same goal, we can achieve what had seemed impossible.

Anthony Velasco, co-chair of our Transgender Care Program, brought together local leaders in transgender health and advocacy to discuss opening our doors wider together.

The panelists, who are improving the lives of transgender people in the Coachella Valley, were: Planned Parenthood, Borrego Health, LGBT Center of the Desert, Transgender Health and Wellness Center, and Online Gender Care.

We are thankful for The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care – Greater Palm Springs Chapter’s sponsorship of this event, and to Anthony Velasco for his leadership.

Our Partner Palm Springs Family Care Center Is Growing

Soon our community will have greater access to primary care and other health services when The Palm Springs Family Care Center moves into a brand new, 35,000-square-foot community health center at the northwest corner of E. Tahquitz Canyon Way and N. Sunrise Way.

We are thankful for the efforts of Riverside University Health System to help our partner expand and address the healthcare needs of more people, and we remain committed to serving our community together. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

DAP COVID-19 Triage Nurse Kimmie Miller Celebrated as NBC Palm Springs, Toyota of the Desert and Honda of the Desert's Essential Worker of the Week 

Healthcare Information and Media Resource Sharing

COVID-19 proves that access to healthcare and information is not equal in every community, and we are fighting to prevent poor health outcomes for people of color and people living in poverty in our community.  We believe supporting access to information is an important part of this.

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’ve also made information about our life sustaining services more available than ever by bringing our collection of patient literature onto our website with our new Community Health Resources page.  

DAP’s Team Reaches Out in New Ways

DAP’s Team Reaches Out in New Ways

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

DAP Talks: Getting the Most Out of Your Healthcare   

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

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

Listen to his DAP Talks below.

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

Community Health Department Reaches Out to Recovery Professionals  

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

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

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

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

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

Did You Know?  

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

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

5 Habits That Improve Physical Resiliency 

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

Top 5 Things PLWHA Should Do for Physical Resiliency   

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

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

Don’t Drop the Ball on Your Health   

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

Top 4 Areas Neglected Most During COVID-19  

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

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

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

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