In Its 34th Year D.A.P. Still Sees Ending HIV/AIDS As Top Aim

Posted in: Our Stories, Press Releases
August 22, 2018

Palm Springs, Calif., August 22, 2018—It was 34 years ago today that Desert AIDS Project started out of desperation, with little else but heart and soul to get it off the ground. It was the same year the HIV virus had been identified, and founders sought to keep the community educated about AIDS, and to provide social and psychological support to those suffering from it. As decades passed, medical services came in-house, dental and residential access was added, and eventually, the status of Ferally Qualified Health Center was achieved.

As we mark D.A.P.’s 34th anniversary, we recommit ourselves to providing holistic care to people living with HIV, and getting to zero new HIV infections. We also commit ourselves to responding to the unmet needs of our neighbors struggling to find health and a path out of poverty, regardless of HIV status.

“Using the road map created during the earliest years of the AIDS crisis, Desert AIDS Project continues to be led by the communities we serve to improve the health and well-being of the whole person,” said David Brinkman, D.A.P. CEO.  “We are humbled and grateful for the community’s partnership in creating lifesaving solutions for people in need.”

Our expansion, known as Vision 2020, will enable us to care for twice the number of patients and clients than we do today, increasing from 4,000 to 8,000. This will add more than 20,000 square feet to our campus footprint and includes 60 additional housing units.

The needs of our community have increased since 1984, but we remain ever mindful of our roots. Providing compassionate care and bringing an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic will always be our number one priority.

George Sonsel, L.C.S.W., a founder and D.A.P.’s first Executive Director, remembers the disarray and disorganization in the community when he and seven others started D.A.P. Conflicting local interests, apathy among healthcare clinicians and civic institutions, and homophobia were only some of the impediments they faced in those early days. The tenacity and passion to meet those challenges created a standard that permeates the organization today.

“The respect shown for the initial efforts of your founders is evidenced by the dedication to D.A.P.’s long-term existence, breadth of services, sound administrative and fiscal practices, and building sufficient reserves for the perpetuation of the organization,” said Mr. Sonsel. “To the extent that I can represent those who came before, thank you for the consistent leadership, ongoing insight and creativity, and provision of quality services.”

Until there is a cure for HIV, D.A.P. stands by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90–90–90 goal; ensure 90 percent of HIV infected individuals know their status, and that 90 percent are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and that 90 percent of those treated achieve viral suppression.

There is no limit to the passion and effort D.A.P. and its partners bring forth to ensure that everyone living with HIV receives care and everyone at risk for HIV receives education and interventions.

To find out more about D.A.P.’s expansion plans, please visit

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, behavioral health, 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 low-cost 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.

Visit, and to learn more.


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