Desert AIDS Project
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Desert AIDS Project Community Action Newsletter


In This Issue

Positive Life Series: CROI Conference Update
Tuesday, April 7

Dr. John Stansell will provide an update from last month's Conference on Retroviruses & Opportunistic Infections in Seattle. The location is Sinatra Auditorium, Desert Regional Medical Center (Tachevah and Miraleste). A light supper is served at 6:00 PM; program begins at 6:30 PM. ASL provided. Sponsored by Jewish Family Service of the Desert. Email questions to positivelifeseries@gmail.com but RSVP is NOT required.

Future presentations:
May 5: Hep C Update 
Jun. 2: How to speak up for yourself and be an advocate to access the best care
Sep. 8: Hearing loss in HIV

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Half-off clothing at Revivals

Remember that Revivals offers half-off men's clothing every first Thursday (that's today!) and half-off women's apparel every first Friday of the month.

Tony retires from Walgreens

March 25, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, there will be a party celebrating Tony's service to the community through the D.A.P. branch of Walgreens pharmacy. Held in the DHD room of the Client Wellness Services Center. Come reminisce and enjoy cake!

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Client Wellness Services Center presents: Treatment Update
Friday, March 6, Noon - 1:00 PM

Joseph Leahy will discuss treatment updates and changes. Lunch starts at 11:45 AM. Registered D.A.P. clients only. ASL interpretation upon request, contact Ray at least 48 hours in advance. Sponsored by Janssen Therapeutics. RSVP to Ray Robertson at 760.992.0471 or by email torrobertson@desertaidsproject.org 

Movie & Pizza! March 12: The Italian Job
Thursdays, 1:00 PM

The Italian Job (2003)

After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally.  Stars Donald Sutherland, Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Jason Statham, and Charlize Theron. (Editor's note: If you like clever action movies you will LOVE this movie!) See the trailer here.

Smoking Cessation Classes!
Starting Tuesday, March 10th, and Friday, March 13th, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Client Wellness Services Center presents: Smoking Cessation Classes! 

If you are truly ready to give up your nicotine addiction, this may be the help, direction, and support you have been looking for! There are no scare tactics, patches, or medication involved. Just safe and healthy techniques and positive support as you finally leave behind this expensive and unhealthy habit! Commit to making your 2015 smoke-free and healthy! Facilitated by Ray Robertson, Certified Chemical Dependency Specialist. Call Ray to sign up, ask questions, or just show up at the first session. 760.992.0471. Classes continue every Tuesday and Friday for four weeks.

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CROI updates

The 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections brings together researchers and clinicians to share the latest HIV science from around the world. A link to "key abstracts" for papers presented is here. You can scroll through the list and find topics that may be of interest to you.

Study shows no HIV transmissions between serodiscordant gay male couples

The interim results of a study of serodiscordant relationships has shown zero HIV transmissions between men in such couples. The Kirby Institute’s Opposites Attract study looked at couples where one man was HIV-positive, on treatment and with an undetectable viral load, and the other HIV-negative. While these early results are promising, further study will be needed. Read more here.

Clinical trials to evaluate long-acting antiretroviral drugs

Two new clinical trials are examining the safety and acceptability of antiretroviral medicines administered via injection as a means of protecting against HIV infection. The studies are being funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and conducted by the NIAID-funded HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). Read more here. 

Can't stop obsessing about the guy, who gave you HIV?

Being newly diagnosed with HIV brings up a lot of questions. The first one is “Why me?” And that often leads to “How did this happen?” or “Why did I let it happen?”  Some find themselves going back over past sexual encounters and trying to figure out when and from whom they acquired the virus. Others know exactly who passed HIV on to them. And they find themselves going back over that specific encounter and obsessing, as you may be, which is a normal reaction. Read here for advice on how to understand and move on.

County health planners want you!

The Riverside County Department of Public Health has announced its SHAPE Initiative – Strategic Health Alliance Pursuing Equity – and they want your input. The SHAPE Initiative is a County-wide community health assessment and improvement planning process to learn more about the communities of Riverside County. The SHAPE Initiative has two ways for you to participate in making your voice heard – do one or both! Complete an online community health survey available here: SHAPE Initiate Survey or attend a community forum listed here.

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National coalition releases principles for HIV criminal law reform

The Positive Justice Project (PJP), a national coalition challenging HIV criminal law policies in the United States, has released a set of principles to guide the modernization of state HIV criminal laws across the country. The Guiding Principles for Eliminating Disease-Specific Criminal Laws call for modernization of existing laws requiring proof of intent-to-harm accompanied by conduct likely to cause death or severe injury for a conviction. Read more here.

Kaiser removes extreme co-pays for HIV meds

Kaiser Permanente has stopped charging people more for HIV drugs and is offering refunds for the exorbitant co-pays some of its patients faced. Kaiser was criticized after it came to light that it was charging people about 20% of the cost of their medications, rather than a flat co-pay. This resulted in patients being charged co-pays of up to $900! Read more.

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Tell Congress; NO cuts to Social Security!

The Congressional majority’s strategy for 2015 is to threaten millions of Americans in order to ram through deeply unpopular cuts to our Social Security system. They are putting into action their plan to cut Social Security disability insurance for 11 million Americans. They think that by pitting young against old and retirees against disabled workers, they can force cuts to Social Security. Email your Representative today! Tell them that the American people are united behind our whole Social Security system!

LGBT Community Center of the Desert wants to hear from you

The LGBT Community Center of the Desert is conducting a questionnaire to gather information from members of the community in our efforts to develop programs and services that meet the needs and enrich the lives of LGBT people in the valley. We are asking you to pass our survey link on to your organizational and personal mailing lists, newsletters and social media, to ensure that everyone’s voice and opinions will be heard and counted. Click here to start the online LGBT Survey.

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Well Beyond HIV celebrates the lives of older adults living with HIV

As the population of older Americans living with HIV/AIDS grows, the daily realities, concerns and successes of their lives remain largely invisible. Well Beyond HIV puts a lens on this community and demonstrates that an HIV diagnosis is a journey, where aging well is possible. The campaign’s goal is to inspire dialogue, eradicate stigmas, and amplify the voices, faces and stories of those over 50 living with HIV.

HUD makes push for LGBT seniors housing initiative

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy groups are joining forces with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create a new campaign to address the housing needs of LGBT seniors nationwide. The initiative includes plans to maximize housing opportunities, improve policy and cultural awareness and strengthen anti-discrimination protection for older LGBT people. Read more.

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Keep track of healthcare reform changes

If you are on Medicare, it's important to keep track of ongoing changes in coverage and payment options.  Most importantly, the "donut hole" of Medicare Part D drug plan co-pays begins to close this year (see below).  Regardless of your current insurance situation, click here for a government website that provides some guidance regarding Medicare, Medicaid and other possible insurance options (albeit limited) for those living with disabilities and/or chronic health issues (pay particular attention to the Medicare and Timeline tabs).  And click here for an even more detailed summary.  (sb) 

ADAP may pay Medicare Part D premium

ADAP-eligible clients who have to purchase Part D prescription drug coverage may qualify to have their Part D premium paid by the State of California. Follow this link to the Part D Premium Payment Program Application. You can also call the State of California at 916.449.5900 for more information.  (jl) 

Help with Medicare

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) offers one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families.  This includes information about original Medicare, Medicare Health Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare Supplemental policies and Long-term Care Insurance.  The California Department of Aging (CDA) is responsible for statewide administration of SHIP, which is delivered through the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).  HICAP services can be accessed via a toll-free line at 800.434.0222.  The local HICAP counselor is located at the Mizell Center in Palm Springs and can be reached at 760.323.5689.  Follow this link for more information. 

Help paying for prescription medications

Among the resources available to HIV-positive people to help pay for prescription medications is NeedyMeds. The mission of NeedyMeds is to make information about assistance programs available to low-income patients and their advocates at no cost.  Go  to www.needymeds.org, look up the  medications you need and you'll be directed to the patient assistance program website for that manufacturer.  The site  also offers a free drug discount card that is accepted at more than 62,000 pharmacies.  If you are having trouble paying for your medications this site is worth a look!  (jl) (sb) 

Help paying for private health insurance premiums

If you or someone you are close to is HIV positive and paying for private health insurance, there may be help in paying premiums. The California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS (OA) administers the Health Insurance Premium Payment (OA-HIPP) Program.  OA has expanded OA-HIPP to make this program available to more individuals with health insurance who are at risk of losing it, and to individuals currently without health insurance who would like to purchase it.  You do NOT need to be a D.A.P. client to access OA-HIPP.  Follow this link to see if you qualify, and also check out the above links in the Healthcare reforms article. (jl) (sb)  

Quest Diagnostics website

Riverside County Healthcare (RCHC) Lab services are provided at both Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) in Moreno Valley and Quest Diagnostics.  All former LabCorps patients are now served at Quest.  Click here or above for the Quest website: locations, hours and to make an appointment. 

Medically Indigent Services Program (MISP) & AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)

For those who qualify, medical care and help paying for your medications are available through the MISP and ADAP programs.* Find out if you qualify: schedule an appointment by calling the numbers below. You can schedule your MISP and ADAP appointments together for Moreno Valley office ONLY. Call no sooner than four weeks before your ADAP qualifying expiration date (usually around your birthday). If you qualify for ADAP only, the local ADAP office is right across the driveway, south of D.A.P., at the Palm Springs Family Care Center. Specify the Palm Springs office when you call. Here are the numbers:

877.501.5085 - toll free
951.486.5375 - English
951.486.5400 - Spanish
951.486.4635 - fax

*NOTICE: Faxed MISP applications can get lost in the process. Many people who have faxed their application have had to re-apply later. It's best to apply in person in Moreno Valley, and get a "receipt of application", and use that as proof that you applied to avoid uninterrupted services with your D.A.P. medical doctor visits.

D.A.P. contact information

The Desert AIDS Project local phone number is 760.323.2118. The toll-free phone number is 866.331.3344 and the website is desertaidsproject.org.

DAPCAN back issues always available online

Need another look at something you read in DAPCAN? Find past issues online by clicking this link. As always, you can also read the most current edition of DAPCAN on the D.A.P. website at www.desertaidsproject.org/newsletter

D.A.P. holiday closings for 2014

January 20 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 17 — Presidents' Day
March 31 — Cesar Chavez Day
May 26 — Memorial Day
July 4 — Independence Day
September 1 — Labor Day
October 13 — Columbus Day
November 27-28 — Thanksgiving
December 25-26 — Christmas

Call 211 for essential human services in Riverside County

2-1-1 is a toll-free service for residents looking for information about essential human services such as affordable housing, food pantries, help for an aging parent, free or low cost health services, addiction prevention programs, employment, support groups, volunteer opportunities, and 1,700 additional services! (jl)

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Your annual ADAP/MISP appointment

For those who meet income eligibility requirements, medical care and help paying for medications may be available through state MISP and ADAP programs. To qualify: call the numbers below and schedule an appointment. (You can schedule your MISP and ADAP appointments together for Moreno Valley office ONLY.) Call no sooner than four weeks before your ADAP qualifying expiration date (usually around your birthday). If you qualify for ADAP only, the local ADAP office across the driveway, south of D.A.P., at the Palm Springs Family Care Center. Specify the Palm Springs office when you call and make sure you have all documents required! Delays can cause lapses in drug coverage.

877.501.5085 - toll free 951.486.5375 - English
951.486.5400 - Spanish/espanol 951.486.4635 - fax

Unfortunately, it's sometimes difficult to get through to make appointments by phone. We were recently notified that there is now an individual at Window 2 next door at the Palm Springs Family Care Center that can schedule appointments and process demographics changes. If it is more convenient, you can walk next door to schedule your MISP/ADAP appointment in person. (jl)

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Let Disability.gov guide you to information you need

Are you looking for information about how much work you need to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, or how to apply for benefits? Are you searching for an affordable place to live, or want to find ways to make your home accessible? Do you need help finding a job, or want to learn how working might affect your Social Security disability payments? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then check out these guides on Disability.gov:

Disability.gov's guides answer many of the most frequently asked questions about eligibility for disability benefits, locating job training services, as well as housing assistance programs for individuals with disabilities. In addition, Disability.gov’s Guide to Getting Help in Your Community has information about programs and organizations near you that provide other services and supports, including health care, temporary financial assistance for families, and help paying home heating bills. (jl)

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Get Social Security forms online

A reminder that starting in February, form requests for proofs of income and Social Security numbers will not be available at local Social Security offices as in the past. Now you must go online for those documents at socialsecurity.gov or call 800.772.1213. Remember that the forms can be printed out immediately but phone requests will take approximately seven days to receive by mail. You need these forms not only for Social Security, but also to apply at D.A.P., for ADAP and MediCAL, most updates and other insurance and eligibility requirements. If you have no computer, you may use the computer lab at D.A.P. and print your forms there. (sb)

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New Fact Sheets available to help with ACA questions

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a series of easy-to-understand consumer fact sheets for those who are enrolling or have newly enrolled in healthcare plans through the ACA marketplace. A list of topics, with links to the fact sheets, is available here. (ej)

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Contact your elected officials

DAPCAN encourages readers to contact elected officials on important issues. Make your voice heard by contacting our state and federal officials!

Find current list of officials here