Desert AIDS Project Announces Substantial Fee Reduction for STD Screening And Treatment
HIV, HCV Screenings and PEP remain free-of-charge
Amid an alarming spike in syphilis cases in the Coachella Valley, Desert AIDS Project is further removing barriers to access for sexual health services by lowering fees for STD screening from $80 to $25 at its DOCK clinic. This price includes labs and treatment. Anyone at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible for a sliding fee scale for these services.
Desert AIDS Project has long been a resource for compassionate and non-judgmental STD care. Remaining free-of-charge are screenings for HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), and access to post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
In Riverside County, syphilis cases run about 12 per 100,000 people, and the Coachella Valley has 32 cases per 100,000. But the numbers show highest concentrations in Palm Springs, with over 100 cases per 100,000, and North Palm Springs, with 185 cases per 100,000 people. (Riverside University Health System)
County health officials have scheduled the Riverside County Syphilis Community Collaborative today from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Demuth Community Center, located at 3601 East Mesquite Avenue, Palm Springs. An array of community members representing faith-based organizations, health organizations, medical providers, schools, and insurers will convene to exchange ideas on how together they can help beat this epidemic. Also attending will be officials from the California Department of Public Health.
“Public funding for healthcare is harder to find every day,” said David Brinkman, D.A.P. CEO. “But making STD screening and treatment attainable for all members in our community is how we can do our part to confront this syphilis epidemic head-on.”
While syphilis disproportionately affects gay men and HIV positive gay men, it also has a devastating effect on women, especially those giving birth. According to the California Department of Public Health, the number of infants born with congenital syphilis increased for the fifth year in a row. In 2017 alone, 30 babies in California were stillborn due to being infected. When babies survive, they often live with permanent disabilities like blindness, deafness, bone problems, and ruined teeth.
In addition to syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are also on the rise, making regular screening and access to treatment even more vital.
“We are very concerned about the rising rates of STDs in California,” said Dr. Heidi Bauer, M.D., M.P.H., Chief, STD Control Branch, California Department of Public Health. “Last year, over 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported, a 45% increase over the past 5 years.”
The DOCK accepts walk-ins Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., although appointments are recommended. Due to demand, caregiver schedules can fill up quickly.
For more information, visit thedockclinic.org.
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.