A newly released policy paper published last month by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) outlines the essential requirements of an effective HIV care model. Desert AIDS Project achieves many of the goals, services and elements outlined in the policy paper for promoting positive health outcomes for HIV-positive people. The paper states that, among other things, the major elements for an effective HIV care model include:
- HIV testing within communities combined with efficient linkage to HIV care providers and specialty care
- Access to integrated medical care all under one roof, commonly implemented through the “medical home” model
- A holistic approach towards care that provides social services for clients
HIV testing and linkage to care
Free and confidential HIV testing is available in various cities throughout Riverside County through Desert AIDS Project. In total, Desert AIDS Project has initiated testing efforts in over 20 communities and groups throughout our service-area. Health Educators and Early Intervention Specialists link any person who is HIV-positive with the services here.
Medical Home model
We provide a majority of our services all under one roof at our Palm Springs campus. Case management and primary and specialty care providers form the base of care operations here. Case managers assist clients to identify needs and coordinate the variety of clinical and social services required to remove barriers to, avoid duplication of, and maintain engagement in care. Telemedicine capabilities in conjunction with off-site partners allow D.A.P. clients to receive some medical advice without having to schedule appointments elsewhere. Gynecologic services for women ensure our HIV-positive female clients receive thorough medical care. The three-year old dental clinic at the Palm Springs campus – Riverside county’s first HIV-specialty dental clinic – is also a testament to the integrated medical care model that we strive to offer for clients.
HIV providers and expertise
Well-qualified physicians make up the HIV care team at Desert AIDS Project at the main campus in Palm Springs. Our staff of providers demonstrates HIV expertise and experience with specialty training. Five providers of HIV care in our medical clinics are Certified HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVS). There is no higher credential one can earn specific to HIV. These providers are Dr. Hawthorne, Dr.Kerkar, Physician’s Assistant Jean Davis, Ph.D and Dr.Shiu. Even D.A.P. specialists Dr. Dew, certified in Preventative Medicine/Public Health and Occupational Medicine, and psychiatrist Dr. Torban, who has been recognized as one of America’s Top Psychiatrist’s, make certain that D.A.P. clients receive the best relevant care no matter what. Dr Hawthorne–who holds both AAHIVS certification and is certified in Infectious Diseases by the American Board of Internal Medicine–currently, serves as D.A.P.’s Interim Medical Director.
Holistic care and social services
Access to essential HIV medications and holistic social services also show that D.A.P. is on the right track . Clients have access to a Walgreens pharmacy on site that contains all of the stock of a regular pharmacy, while also carrying essential HIV medications. Eligible clients can also receive nutrition and food assistance through our monthly farmer’s market at the Food Depot or obtain help navigating housing opportunities. Support groups, nutrition workshops, alcohol and substance abuse counseling, yoga & meditation classes, and access to legal services round out some of the social services offered at D.A.P.
It is clear that Desert AIDS Project is on the right path for promoting positive health outcomes for our clients by providing effective, integrated care under one roof and taking a holistic approach towards HIV/AIDS treatment. We will continue to meet the evolving needs of our clients to ensure everyone in our community has a right to a decent quality of life.