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Where Did All This Peanut Allergy Come F …

Where Did All This Peanut Allergy Come From?

Words by Ellen Bluestein

 

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, as of 2017, 2.5% of children in the United States have peanut allergy. While that percentage may seem small, it translates to more than 1.8 million kids with a potentially fatal condition. 

 

“Probably about 20 years ago, it was clear that this was not only a growing problem, but it had already become a public health problem in the United States and around the world,” says Dr. Andrew Liu, a pediatric allergist at the University of Colorado. “I don’t know that we’re sure why or how peanut allergy has become so prevalent. But I think it’s pretty clear that it’s real.”

 

Researchers have been exploring several possible hypotheses. One — the hygiene theory — explores the idea that with the advent of germ-killing cleaning products, our environments no longer provide the exposure to microbes that the immune system recognizes and learns to fight off.

 

“What is a microbe-rich environment? One where we’re living around a lot of animals,” says Dr. Liu. “There have been a lot of studies where it looks like allergies are less common in kids growing up in farming environments or in developing nations where people live very closely to their animals. Some people think … that the immune system doesn’t see enough of those microbial exposures early because we’ve gone and cleaned up our environment.”

 

Early exposure to peanuts — between four and six months of age — may be one way to reduce the allergy. “The original observation was in Israel, where they had this teething cracker called Bamba which has peanut in it,” says Dr. Liu. “And they observed that within communities where this was a common cultural practice, the prevalence of peanut allergy in the kids was really low compared to what they were seeing in other communities.”

 

This led to more research and ultimately a definitive study on prevention. Children were given Bamba or a derivative, and then followed. Those who received the cracker were unlikely to develop peanut allergy compared to those who didn’t get it. “It looked like early exposure … when our bodies are learning about what is safe … is an essential time period,” says Dr. Liu. “If the immune system learns that the peanut is not something to be concerned about, then that stays.”

 

While there is still much to be discovered, Dr. Liu is optimistic that there will be remedies for those who suffer from the life-threatening condition. “There’s work going on to develop treatments to either reduce or prevent the severe reactions to those who are peanut allergic,” he says. “There continues to be investment in a lot of research … to try to get to that place where there are treatments that can be helpful for people and young kids who are allergic.”

Behavioral Health Resources for the Lake …

Behavioral Health Resources for the Lake Arrowhead and Surrounding Mountain LGBTQ+ Community

At DAP Health, we recognize the profound impact trauma can have on individuals. Whether it’s the aftermath of a hate crime, perceived threats, or other distressing experiences, we understand that the effects of such events can be long-lasting.

It’s crucial to remember that healing begins with sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone who understands and cares. Even in a virtual setting, DAP Health’s dedicated professionals are here to support you every step of the way and provide a safe and empathetic space for you to process, heal, and reclaim your mental and emotional well-being.

We will continue to reach out to partner organizations to update this list of mental health resources that can be accessed in person or virtually. If you are a partner organization that can support the community, please use the form below to submit your organization’s information, and a DAP Health team member will contact you to validate your information before adding it to this list.

Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ (lakearrowheadlgbtq.org)

From the nonprofit’s website, its mission: We will create an all-inclusive, safe community for everyone. Our goal is to raise funds to create a LGBTQ+ Center for resources, recreation, learning, counseling, and health care. Our building will be available to anyone who needs it.

Furthermore: Lauri Carleton was not only a beloved mother, wife, and friend but a founding member of our Mountain Provisions Co-op community and a fierce advocate for love, equality, and human rights. Her tragic death has left a void in our hearts, but her vision for a more caring, inclusive, and engaged community lives on.

Lauri’s vision for a better world: Lauri was a pillar in our community, an unwavering champion of values that sought to break down barriers and build bridges. Her dedication to equality and her courage in flying the LGBTQ+ flag exemplify her commitment to creating a world where love knows no boundaries. The Lauri Carleton Memorial Fund aims to keep her spirit alive, by supporting local and inclusive community-building initiatives that reflect these same values.

SAC Health (sachealth.org)

A dedicated Lake Arrowhead support line was established at 909.219.6880 on 9.14.23 and will be available Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., for as long as needed. After-hours, the line accepts messages. Behavioral health offerings include individual in-person counseling for adults and youth (IEHP, Molina, Risk Management, Medicare, Medical). Virtual options are available (except for Medicare). Group counseling is available, with coverage requirements. Appointments for one-on-one counseling are available at the end of the month. Group sessions will be held virtually once a roster is developed.

DAP Health (daphealth.org)

DAP Health’s department of behavioral health provides services focusing on treating mental health and substance use with individual therapy or medication management, as necessary, and specializes in serving the LGBTQ+ community. Appointments are in person or virtual via phone, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Call 760.992.0450 to schedule.

 

Queer Works Therapy (queerworks.org/freetherapy)

Appointments can be requested online, with intake within 48 hours and the first appointment within a week. Behavioral health services include LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy (virtual sessions open to all California residents, with fees based on income level), LGBTQ+ trauma-informed therapy (specializing in care for victims of hate crimes or perceived threats), trans-affirmative therapy (focused on transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex care).

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert (thecentercv.org)

Affirmative, virtual, low-cost therapy is available to all California residents. For more information, or to be added to the waitlist, call 760.416.7790, Ext. 3.

 

Photo courtesy of Mountain Provisions Cooperative, Lake Arrowhead.

Know Your PrEP Options

PrEP: So Many Options

As seen in GED Magazine

The HIV prevention world has changed dramatically in the more than 10 years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gilead Sciences’ Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in July 2012.

Following the discovery that Truvada can pose renal and bone density problems in some individuals (which, thankfully, go away after the medication is discontinued), the FDA approved Gilead’s more kidney-and-bone-friendly Descovy as PrEP in October 2019. While Truvada is currently available as a generic equivalent, Descovy is still under patent.

More than a year ago — on December 20, 2021 — the FDA approved GSK’s Apretude, the first and only long-acting injectable form of PrEP, which requires a new dose every two months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), when taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection from sexual activity by more than 99%, and by at least 74% for those who use intravenous drugs. You should be on PrEP for HIV protection if you are 18 years or older, are sexually active (or soon planning to be), and are HIV negative.

“The great news with injectable PrEP is that it is a wonderful alternative for people who have issues with adherence and may forget to take their daily pill,” says DAP Health Clinical Supervisor of Sexual Wellness, Nurse Practitioner Trent Broadus. “It’s also very helpful for unhoused people who may have nowhere to store their meds, or who may be concerned that they’ll be stolen. Even more exciting, longer-lasting forms of injectable PrEP are currently being studied. Data are promising on one injection that would last a full six months.”

Before starting PrEP — whether orally or by injection — you’ll need to get tested for HIV, STIs, kidney function, and Hepatitis B and C.

Some people experience gas, nausea, or headache when beginning PrEP. These side effects typically go away within the first week. Note that it takes at least one week on PrEP before you’re protected for anal sex, and three weeks for vaginal sex.

Most insurance plans cover oral PrEP for HIV. Injectable PrEP is covered by Medi-Cal, but some Medicare and private insurance plans may require you to go through your primary care provider.

All forms of PrEP require regular follow-up HIV, STI, and kidney function testing. Every three months for oral PrEP; every two months for injectable PrEP.

You should talk to your doctor before stopping any medication. And if you stop taking PrEP, talk to a health care provider about using other HIV prevention strategies.

If you’re interested in PrEP, contact a DAP Health PrEP navigator at 760.656.8400. You can also talk to any nurse or nurse practitioner during your visit if you want to discuss which PrEP may be right for you.

If you don’t have health care insurance, or if you need financial assistance, a PrEP navigator can also explain your options, help you get access, and answer questions about finding a doctor or working with your pharmacy.

And remember: All PrEP visits and lab work done at DAP Health’s sexual wellness clinics in Palm Springs and Indio are always free of charge to all patients.

Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SA …

MANAGING SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD) 

Words by Ellen Bluestein 

For most people, seasonal affective disorder — commonly known as SAD — starts in the fall and continues well into the winter months. “It saps your energy and makes you feel kind of low, moody, and depressed,” explains DAP Health Behavioral Health Director Dr. Jill Gover, affectionately known on campus as Dr. G. “And then those symptoms will resolve themselves in the spring and summer months.” While the exact cause of SAD is unknown, “It’s very likely that it’s connected to a drop in serotonin,” says Dr. Gover. “When we go into the winter months, we have less light. Sunlight produces serotonin. When we have drops in serotonin, it can trigger depression.” 

Additional symptoms of SAD include sleeping too much and having intense carbohydrate cravings. “When we crave carbohydrates, we’re usually low in serotonin in our brain chemistry,” Dr. G. says. “And if we eat a really high-carb diet, it often involves some kind of weight gain, which can exacerbate the depressed feelings.” There can also be difficulty concentrating, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, low energy, oftentimes guilt, and even suicidal ideation. “When you have this winter depression, as it’s sometimes called, and just a kind of overall malaise, it’s important to seek professional help,” adds Dr. G. 

According to Dr. Gover, the first line of treatment is daily exposure to light within the first hour of waking up. “Natural outdoor light appears to change your brain chemistry,” she says. “It produces serotonin.” The doctor also recommends making your environment sunnier and brighter. “Open the blinds and trim back trees to get more sunlight into your home,” she says. “Get outside, take a long walk. Simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on a cold or cloudy day, outdoor light is very helpful. That early light is very important.” 

Exercising regularly also helps by producing serotonin as well as dopamine, the neurochemicals needed to feel good. “And it’s important to normalize sleep patterns,” Dr. G. affirms. “Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. And don’t nap!” 

With the sun shining 354 days a year on average in Palm Springs, SAD is not as prevalent here as in other parts of the country. However, for those who experience that mood shift every fall, DAP Health can help. “We offer behavioral health services and any one of our licensed clinicians can provide excellent treatment,” Dr. Gover emphasizes. One of the most effective treatments for SAD is phototherapy, which involves sitting in front of a special light box. “We have psychotherapy, we have medication management, and we can assist patients in locating a light box and give them criteria to identify high-quality products so they can also engage in light therapy.” 

Dr. G.’s warning: “Winter depression can definitely become very serious and really interfere with the quality of your life. If anybody is struggling, if they are experiencing any symptoms, then I encourage them to seek therapy.” 

Aging Positively — Reunion Project 202 …

HIV and Aging Conference Header Image

Contact: Steven Henke                                 
Director of Brand Marketing 
(612) 310-3047 
shenke@daphealth.org 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

August 5 2021  

Local Organizations Collaborate on HIV & Aging Conference  

Aging Positively — Reunion Project Set September 18, 2021  

Aging Positively — Reunion Project, the annual Coachella Valley conference aimed at providing practical information and inspiration for those aging with HIV, will bring together community leaders to improve the lives of older adults living with HIV for a virtual conference on Sept. 18, 2021. The conference will feature an HIV research panel of top experts discussing HIV and aging issues in our community.   

September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day — a day to call attention to the growing number of people living long and full lives with HIV and to aging-related challenges of HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care.    

The virtual conference is free to attendees and open to the public. Presented by Eisenhower Health, this year's event is the result of a unique collaboration among local service providers and organizations focused on improving the shared experience of older adults living with HIV.  

People with HIV are living longer lives, thanks to advancements in scientific research and medical treatments; today, about half of HIV positive individuals in the U.S. are age 50 and above. Aging persons living with HIV have experienced tremendous loss, stigma, and discrimination throughout their lifetime and within the healthcare system.  In comparison to similar HIV-negative populations, individuals aging with HIV may experience an early onset of aging complications such as neurocognitive decline, impaired physical function, frailty, and falls.    

Karl Schmid, the entertainment reporter for ABC7 LA will speak on HIV and the media. The ABC reporter, who came out as HIV Positive in 2018, uses his multimedia platform, +Life, to educate and combat HIV stigma.  

At ABC7, Karl has been a regular contributor since 2013, joining the team as a correspondent and producer on the then-weekly and syndicated "On The Red Carpet." 

A passionate activist in the fight against HIV stigma, Schmid launched +Life (www.pluslifemedia.com) in 2019 online to help foster a new conversation around what it means for people living with HIV and to tackle the stigma still associated with the virus. +Life is also part of Localish TV on the newly launched Localish TV network. 

"HIV is not killing people but stigma is, and this is what needs to change," Schmid said in a statement. "We need to talk more about HIV and its advancements, about what U=U means, and we should not be stigmatized by society. 

"We need to have more information on mainstream media about how you contract HIV, prevention and treatments available so that people stop stigmatizing those that are positive and realize that anyone can have HIV and live a completely normal and healthy life."  

Since coming out as HIV-positive, Schmid has used his platform to educate and fight bias.  

Keynote speaker Andy Bell of Erasure fame will share his personal story. Bell is a founding member of Erasure.  Formed in 1985, when former Depeche Mode and Yazoo member Clarke advertised for a new singer. The duo quickly became enormously successful in the U.K., U.S., and several other countries with hits like “Chains of Love,” “A Little Respect,” and “Oh L’amour.” Now, three decades into their career, they are considered one of the most adored and influential synthpop bands selling more than 25 million records. In 2019, Erasure released their 18th studio album, The Neon. 

Bell has become an icon within the LGBTQ+ community for his honesty, compassion and support. Among his support of various LGBTQ+ causes, Bell has served as an ambassador for New York’s Hetrick-Martin Institute, and he is currently a patron of the Cambridge, England-based charity Diverse and of Above The Stag, London’s only LGBTQ+ theater. 

Topics and speakers:  

  •  Keynote speaker: Andy Bell from Erasure 
  • “Honoring Our Experience” with Gregg Cassin 
  • “KeeLee Meditation” with Dr. Daniel Lee, from the University of California, San Diego's Owen Clinic 
  • “HIV & The Media”: Karl Schmid is the entertainment reporter for ABC7 LA. He recently revealed his HIV status and has been an advocate for U=U as well as breaking down HIV stigma. 
  • HIV research update panel: 
    • Borrego Health: Valerio Iovino, i-Care 
    • DAP Health: Dr. Tulika Singh 
    • Eisenhower Health: Dr. Ken Lichtenstein 
    • Palmtree: Dr. Carlos Martinez 
    • HIV+ Aging Research Project-Palm Springs (HARP-PS): Jeff Taylor  
    • Caregiving with Perry Wiggins from The Center, end-of-life doula Alex Snell, and Richard Bass from PALS (Planning Ahead for LGBTQ Seniors)
    •  “Let’s Kick ASS”: Brian DeVries speaks about sustaining and making new friendships late in life 

What: The Aging Positively — Reunion Project 6th annual HIV conference is a collaboration between the HIV+ Aging Research Project—Palm Springs and other nonprofit community partners. It will be a virtual conference consisting of a mix of facilitated discussions, panels, and presentations led by key researchers, advocates, and long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS.  

When:  The 6th Annual Aging Positively — Reunion Project virtual conference will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2021. 

Where:  Attendees can attend the conference from the digital device of their choice.  In-person elements may be announced later.  

How: Registration is free and open on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hiv-aging-virtual-conference-tickets-162082616469  

Collaborating Organizations:  

ANAC   

The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) is the leading health care organization responding to HIV/AIDS. Since its founding in 1987, ANAC has been meeting the needs of nurses and other healthcare professionals in HIV/AIDS care, research, prevention, and policy.  

 ANAC aims to promote the health and welfare of people affected by HIV/AIDS by:  

  • Creating an effective, engaged network of nurses in AIDS care. 
  • Studying, researching and exchanging information, experiences and ideas leading to improved care and prevention. 
  • Providing leadership to the nursing community in matters related to HIV/AIDS infection and its co-morbidities. 
  • Advocating for effective public policies and quality care for people living with HIV. 
  • Promoting social awareness concerning issues related to HIV/AIDS. 

Borrego Health   

Borrego Health provides high-quality, comprehensive, compassionate primary health care to the people in our communities, regardless of their ability to pay. They serve these communities and adjoining regions with respect, dignity, and cultural sensitivity as a medical home and safety net for essential health care and social services. Borrego Health is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and a Federal Tort Claims Act Deemed (FTCA) facility.  

DAP Health   

At DAP Health, no one wonders if they belong — they just feel it. People can rely on culturally competent and stigma-free care at DAP Health.    

DAP Health offers medical and mental healthcare tailored to patients and clients by clinicians who listen to them. DAP Health has been meeting the diverse needs or its community since 1984, and it offers culturally competent care with no stigma about a person’s race, being LGBTQ+, or living with HIV. By actively listening, we can offer people care and services that meet their unique needs.     

  • Sexual wellness — DAP Health’s Orange Clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and hepatitis C testing.
  •  Thriving with HIV and ending the epidemic — DAP Health helps patients living with HIV thrive by staying healthy, undetectable and untransmittable to others. They become part of DAP Health's family beginning with testing, linkage into care, and then being enrolled in medical and mental healthcare, dentistry, social services, and prescription access. 
  • Mental health services — DAP Health offers individual and group therapy and has a substance abuse program that emphasizes recovery and relapse prevention. Mental health is health — no stigma, no shame. It just takes seeing a person truly where he/she/they are in their personal journey. 
  • Ongoing primary care — Join more than 9,700 patients who enjoy culturally competent care from clinicians and care teams who become like family. DAP Health's team works with patients to coordinate their care and ensure they have everything they need to stay healthy.  

Eisenhower Health  

Eisenhower HIV Clinic: Recognizing the complex health care needs of the LGBTQ patient population, Eisenhower Medical Center offers a comprehensive range of clinical, research and education resources — starting with a team of dedicated primary care doctors who have exceptional experience and expertise.  

Eisenhower HIV Clinic Primary Care Services: Providing state-of-the-art care for HIV patients requires knowledge of the latest treatments and best practices in the detection and treatment of HIV. Eisenhower's HIV Primary Care program is focused on the overall health of each patient, including:  

  • Appropriate utilization of advances in HIV care to sustain the best possible quality of life, including appropriate STD and cancer screening as well as healthy aging  
  • Best practices to prevent the spread of HIV  
  •  Compassionate access to new medicines for highly drug-resistant patients  
  • Our team includes HIV primary care doctors Board Certified in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine, with an additional certification as an HIV specialist with the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM).  
  • Eisenhower Health is proud to collaborate with many nonprofit organizations here in the Coachella Valley providing HIV and related healthcare services, through partnership connectivity of services, referrals, and education.  

HARP-PS   

The HIV+ Aging Research Project-Palm Springs is a grassroots community non-profit that conducts research and provides education to improve the quality of life for long-term HIV survivors in the Coachella Valley. They collaborate with academic partners throughout Southern California and nationally to conduct socio-behavioral research on issues like resiliency and COVID-19 affecting HIV survivors. They hold monthly provider events to provide education on HIV Treatment issues, and they held monthly COVID Rounds during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also provide the monthly Positive Life HIV education series with topics and speakers tailored to the unique needs of their HIV survivor community. They created the annual Reunion Project daylong regional seminar to bring together the HIV and aging community in Southern California. Last year they combined forces with DAP Health and other community partners on the Aging Positively-Reunion Project event, which is held each year on or around HIV and Aging Awareness Day on September 18.    

Jewish Family Service of the Desert 

Since its inception as part of the Jewish Federation of Palm Springs and Desert Area in 1982, JFS has grown—not just in size, but in its ability to serve the people of the Coachella Valley. Beginning as a small group of volunteers who checked in on seniors and disabled people who lived alone, JFS Desert has evolved into an organization of professionals and volunteers that provide a broad range of support and services to thousands of Coachella Valley residents each year.  

JFS Desert’s experienced case managers can assist in exploring potential resources. They will assess clients’ eligibility for services and programs and can help facilitate the application process to obtain benefits and support. JFS case managers are a resource for the Coachella Valley, providing emergency financial assistance to prevent homelessness. JFS also works with local and county organizations to advocate for the rights of seniors in the valley. The JFS case management team takes a holistic service approach, collaborating with internal departments to ensure clients’ needs are addressed. We are dedicated to making sure that mental health issues and affordable housing stay front and center for our valley citizens.   

Let’s Kick ASS Palm Springs 

Let’s Kick ASS Palm Springs is an inclusive social group seeking to reduce the stresses of AIDS Survivor Syndrome. They welcome members regardless of HIV status, race, gender, age, or sexuality, believing that the individual is the best judge of the impact of HIV on their life. LKAPS organizes social functions providing opportunities to develop friendships and community.  

They support education and advocacy to raise awareness of AIDS Survivor Syndrome, long-term survivors, and the challenges they face.  

People feel better when engaged in social activity. LKAPS helps long-term survivors overcome isolation by creating social opportunities. From their popular monthly potlucks, twice-monthly coffee socials, bowling team, and movie nights, to now-established annual events such as June 5's Long-term Survivors Day reception and the Thanksgiving Day feast, LKAPS benefits its members through engagement with their local community of HIV survivors.  

PALS  

PALS (Planning Ahead for LGBTQ Seniors) is a volunteer-led community initiative based in Palm Springs that helps LGBTQ+ adults and friends plan ahead before a health or other life-altering situation arises.   

Having a plan in place mitigates stress and anxiety, ensures that LGBTQ+ adults are in control of their future care and legacy, and relieves the burden on family and friends.  

The Center   

At The Center, they like to say they create vibrant community by helping LGBTQ+ people along their way, wherever they might be in life’s journey. Even better, The Center likes to live it, breathe it, and do it. If someone is looking to meet new friends, get resources, or enrich their life and their place in community, they have come to the right place.  

Based in the Coachella Valley, The Center serves people of all ages, totaling more than 70,000 visits annually. How do they attract so many people? They do it with meaningful, relevant and mission-focused programming that addresses three strategic initiatives:  

  •   Ending isolation and loneliness  
  •   Connecting people to resources and community  
  •   Enriching individual and collective experiences 

About DAP Health 

DAP Health is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, Calif., serving more than 10,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab services. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.      

DAP Health opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP Health also is working to address the social determinants of health that are causing negative health outcomes during this pandemic, like food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to ongoing healthcare.  

DAP Health’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) testing. DAP Health has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year — landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP Health exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.      

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.     

 

8 reasons why it’s time to get the COV …

8 reasons why it’s time to get the COVID-19 vaccine 

Have you gotten the jab? 

More than half of Californians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the California Department of Public Health. 

Many of those who haven’t been vaccinated have reservations about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which is understandable. The good news, however, is these vaccines have been thoroughly tested, and they’ve proven to be safe and effective 

The CDC recommends that people should get a vaccine as soon as possible. Unlike a few months ago, the state now has millions of doses available and has opened eligibility to those aged 12 and above. 

DAP Health offers two different COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen). All eligible community members are now able to get one of these vaccines at our health clinic. 

Here are eight reasons why now is the best time to get vaccinated. 

  • Community matters. Be part of the solution. 
  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. 
  • Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine helps keep you from getting seriously ill if you get COVID-19. 
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. 
  • After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you may be able to start doing some things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic. For example, you can gather indoors without masks with other people who are fully vaccinated. 
  • None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. Learn more facts about COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • Getting COVID-19 may offer some protection, known as natural immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the months after initial infection but may increase with time. The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness. 
  • Hugs feel good. Everyone loves a hug from someone they love, especially if they’re vaccinated.  

If you or someone you know needs to be vaccinated, please make an appointment today at DAPHealth.org/vaccine-request. 

 

Get Rental and Utilities Assistance Now …

Media Contact:
Jack Bunting
jbunting@daphealth.org
(760) 656-8472

Get Rental and Utilities Assistance Now at DAP Health

Open to all eligible County residents

DAP Health is now a full-time application site for rental assistance from United Lift. The service is available to any eligible Riverside County resident, despite immigration status. It is not necessary to be a patient or client of DAP Health to receive this assistance.

This service will be offered at DAP Health through June 30, 2021.

The program will cover up to 12 months of back rent and three months of future rent. Help with utilities is also offered.

The United Lift Rental Assistance Program is a coordinated effort between Riverside County, Inland SoCal United Way and Lift To Rise to keep Riverside County families and residents financially impacted by COVID housed by providing direct rental and utility assistance.

DAP Health is bringing its expertise with intake services, welcoming new participants daily.

The application process requires uploading forms online and providing supporting documents. This can be time consuming, but Mike Cohan, resources navigator, is adept at getting this done quickly for participants who work with him.

“We don’t want anyone getting lost in the shuffle,” says Michael.

Once at DAP Health, Michael completes their application online for them while they are with him. This includes scanning all of their documents and then routing them appropriately.

“I ensure that they're qualified before I send them in,” Michael says. “It’s been busy here, but it's been really, really good.”

That’s because of the impact this program is making in people’s lives daily, he says.

One participant lost her income because she is a house cleaner, and pandemic life has made customers cancel the service everywhere. The pressure to support her household of three has resulted in keeping long hours to stay active in job searching.

“She's actively looking for work in the middle of the night because she doesn't like not working,” he says.

While also caring for a sick loved one during the daytime, it was not long before bills had piled up.

Since meeting with Michael, she is getting 12 months of back rent covered, plus the utility bills.

Meeting with Michael also means being offered access to all of the other things DAP Health offers.

These include COVID testing and resources, plus ongoing medical and mental healthcare.

“It’s been a forum where they can come in and I was able to educate them on the services that we provide here for better health,” Michael says.

Having a partner in this work like Lift To Rise also helping DAP Health do more for the community, he says.

“It's made a world of difference because the team has provided so much training for us” says Michael. “They've been so supportive to make sure that we have the resources we need.”

Bi-lingual team members at DAP Health help make it easy for Spanish speakers to apply for the program when calling and visiting the campus.

“I have a lot of people that have come in who are Spanish speaking only,” says Michael.

Think you don’t deserve help? Guess again.

“The ripple effect that it's causing from having no job or reduction in hours, is definitely taking a toll on people,” he says.

Asking for help is hard for a lot of people. He works hard to put people at ease when they work with him.

“I explain that uncertainty from this pandemic is out of our control, and it’s happened to the best of us,” Michael says. “If you qualify and you need it, don't be embarrassed to take it.”

That the fear goes away before they leave, he says.

About Lift to Rise

Lift to Rise is a cross-sector, community-driven movement to improve life in Southern California’s Coachella Valley for the majority of residents who do not experience the opulence and luxury for which the area is known. With input from more than 50 collaborative partners and countless community members Lift to Rise created a 2020-2022 Action Plan—a roadmap to radically increase housing stability and advance economic opportunity for all Coachella Valley residents. We envision a future where all Coachella Valley families are healthy, stable, and thriving.

About DAP Health

DAP Health is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 9,700 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.

DAP Health opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP Health is also working to improve social determinants of health to prevent negative health outcomes during this pandemic, like food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to ongoing healthcare.

DAP Health’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.

The DAP Health Research Program is a leader in research that supports better health outcomes for people with HIV (PWH). The Program offers The ANCHOR Study at DAP Health, and research studies exploring antiretroviral medication and the effects of wellness on health.

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.

Media Contact:
Jack Bunting
jbunting@daphealth.org
(760) 656-8472

Get Rental and Utilities Assistance Now at DAP Health

Open to all eligible County residents

DAP Health is now a full-time application site for rental assistance from United Lift. The service is available to any eligible Riverside County resident, despite immigration status. It is not necessary to be a patient or client of DAP Health to receive this assistance.

This service will be offered at DAP Health through June 30, 2021.

The program will cover up to 12 months of back rent and three months of future rent. Help with utilities is also offered.

The United Lift Rental Assistance Program is a coordinated effort between Riverside County, Inland SoCal United Way and Lift To Rise to keep Riverside County families and residents financially impacted by COVID housed by providing direct rental and utility assistance.

DAP Health is bringing its expertise with intake services, welcoming new participants daily.

The application process requires uploading forms online and providing supporting documents. This can be time consuming, but Mike Cohan, resources navigator, is adept at getting this done quickly for participants who work with him.

“We don’t want anyone getting lost in the shuffle,” says Michael.

Once at DAP Health, Michael completes their application online for them while they are with him. This includes scanning all of their documents and then routing them appropriately.

“I ensure that they're qualified before I send them in,” Michael says. “It’s been busy here, but it's been really, really good.”

That’s because of the impact this program is making in people’s lives daily, he says.

One participant lost her income because she is a house cleaner, and pandemic life has made customers cancel the service everywhere. The pressure to support her household of three has resulted in keeping long hours to stay active in job searching.

“She's actively looking for work in the middle of the night because she doesn't like not working,” he says.

While also caring for a sick loved one during the daytime, it was not long before bills had piled up.

Since meeting with Michael, she is getting 12 months of back rent covered, plus the utility bills.

Meeting with Michael also means being offered access to all of the other things DAP Health offers.

These include COVID testing and resources, plus ongoing medical and mental healthcare.

“It’s been a forum where they can come in and I was able to educate them on the services that we provide here for better health,” Michael says.

Having a partner in this work like Lift To Rise also helping DAP Health do more for the community, he says.

“It's made a world of difference because the team has provided so much training for us” says Michael. “They've been so supportive to make sure that we have the resources we need.”

Bi-lingual team members at DAP Health help make it easy for Spanish speakers to apply for the program when calling and visiting the campus.

“I have a lot of people that have come in who are Spanish speaking only,” says Michael.

Think you don’t deserve help? Guess again.

“The ripple effect that it's causing from having no job or reduction in hours, is definitely taking a toll on people,” he says.

Asking for help is hard for a lot of people. He works hard to put people at ease when they work with him.

“I explain that uncertainty from this pandemic is out of our control, and it’s happened to the best of us,” Michael says. “If you qualify and you need it, don't be embarrassed to take it.”

That the fear goes away before they leave, he says.

About Lift to Rise

Lift to Rise is a cross-sector, community-driven movement to improve life in Southern California’s Coachella Valley for the majority of residents who do not experience the opulence and luxury for which the area is known. With input from more than 50 collaborative partners and countless community members Lift to Rise created a 2020-2022 Action Plan—a roadmap to radically increase housing stability and advance economic opportunity for all Coachella Valley residents. We envision a future where all Coachella Valley families are healthy, stable, and thriving.

About DAP Health

DAP Health is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 9,700 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.

DAP Health opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP Health is also working to improve social determinants of health to prevent negative health outcomes during this pandemic, like food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to ongoing healthcare.

DAP Health’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.

The DAP Health Research Program is a leader in research that supports better health outcomes for people with HIV (PWH). The Program offers The ANCHOR Study at DAP Health, and research studies exploring antiretroviral medication and the effects of wellness on health.

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.

Building Hope on Solid Ground

Building Hope on Solid Ground  

New housing on DAP campus gets city approval, Dr. Kekar says trust vaccines, and Dr. G offers practical wisdom on getting through the holidays this year. 

City Council Approval Feels Like Home 

Even though COVID shook us in 2020, we did not give up on our promise to build additional safe and affordable housing as we expand our campus. We are thankful to the Palm Springs City Council for its unanimous approval last week for us to add 61 affordable housing units and 18,500 square feet of healthcare space at our campus.  

We are proud to call the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition our partner in developing these beautiful new living spaces, with 29 units reserved for residents coming out of homelessness. 

We couldn’t agree more with Palm Springs City Councilwoman Lisa Middleton when she said the expansion is "a stunningly beautiful project, and anyone would be proud to be able to call it home." You can read more in The Desert Sun’s coverage here. 

Dr. Kerkar Urges: Trust COVID Vaccines 

Now that vaccines to fight COVID are becoming available, convincing everybody that they are safe and effective is crucial if we are going to eradicate this infection. DAP Director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Shubha Kerkar shared about why she trusts them, looking at other vaccines in recent memory that helped eradicate polio and smallpox. You can read more here. 

Get Through Holiday Blues with Dr. Gover 

The holidays can be a difficult time, and this year COVID is compounding feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness for many in our community. Paying extra attention to our emotional health is important this holiday season, and it just got easier with practical strategies from Dr. Jill Gover, DAP’s behavioral health manager.  

Dr. Gover says that having a plan for how you will spend them is important, even if you are isolating at home to keep safe. You can read more here

Vaccinations: Winning Faith, Trust and C …

Vaccinations: Winning Faith, Trust and Credibility  

A look at the history of global pandemics 

By Shubha Kerkar MD, FIDSA, FACP, AAHIVS 

The possibility of control and eradication of the current global pandemic of coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) is now a distinct reality because of two promising vaccines that have shown safe and effective performance in preventing 95 percent of infections in preliminary data of phase 3 trials. 

How will these vaccines work? 

Vaccination prepares the human immune system to combat specific infections. In addition to the very basics, such as barriers to exposure with facial covering/masking, physical distancing and handwashing, vaccination is a powerful tool in the armamentarium of defenses against COVID-19.  

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines are based on a novel platform using “messenger” RNA to create vaccines (mRNA). They do not use the live virus or even any particle of a virus. They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.  

The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.  

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give our cells instructions to make a harmless piece of “spike protein, which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the muscle cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. In a placebo-controlled clinical trial where 30,000 to 40,000 volunteers in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated groups, there was a total of 100 infections, five in the vaccinated group and 95 in the placebo group. All volunteers who received the vaccine experienced no serious side effects, thus proving safety and efficacy.  

What does history tell us? 

In the real world, however, vaccines are only as good as the ability to be accepted by everyone. Winning faith and trust in vaccines depends on the credibility of the doctors, scientists and experts, and their ability to educate and help calm fears.  Once accepted, then the details of how to administer to the entire world population are practical challenges.   

 History tells us that vaccine strategies have successfully eradicated some of the deadliest infections on Earth, including smallpox, polio and measles, in times of scarce resources. The concept of vaccination was first noticed by the famous Dr. Edward Jenner in 1796 when he gave “lymph fluid” obtained from a milkmaid who had cowpox to James Phipps and established that he developed protection from smallpox.   

 In 2020, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, a deadly disease causing global pandemic for thousands of years. Worldwide vaccination was carried out in an era of no computers, no internet, no easy overseas transportation – all on foot – and simply targeting the worlds population one person at a time.  Of course, now, the challenges are different. 

What are we seeing today? 

Today, as I look around, not everyone is willing to accept vaccination as a silver lining in the dark cloud of this global pandemic. Perhaps there is no clarity, only doubt and mistrust, due to misinformation filtering through the current geopolitical scene, civil conflicts and social media, thus creating confusing layers. 

I remind all to look back in history: When Dr. Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine, 70 million mothers stood in line to get their children vaccinated – even before the benefits were confirmed.  Infantile paralysis was a devastating condition seen every year prior to that. Thanks to the polio vaccine – and the trust in that vaccine  today, it is part of childhood vaccination, providing 100 percent effectiveness in preventing polio. 

It is not just us here in the valley, our state or county. We must focus and be part of collaborative international cooperation and the contribution of global intelligence and unite in celebrating this great discovery. We must educate ourselves, gather all the courage and will to educate and counsel each other, and slowly win faith and trust in the possibility of prevailing in this battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Kerkar is director of infectious diseases at Desert AIDS Project and an infectious disease consultant at Desert Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Health. For more information on vaccinations visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. 

Image of DAP care provider

Shubha Kerkar, MD, MS

Physician, FACP, AAHIVS, FIDSA

Shubha has been performing infectious disease consultation since 1991 and has the distinction of having been a part of DAP since 1993 when she joined us as a part-time infectious disease consultant. Her practice is primarily focused on inpatient or hospitalized patients at both Desert Regional Medical Center and Eisenhower Health where she cares for individuals with serious infectious diseases. Once these patients recover and leave the hospital they continue on their path to a healthier life by transitioning to Shubha's office-based skilled management program at DAP. Click here to learn more about Dr. Kerkar.

To Honor our Values, We Offer Hope

To Honor our Values, We Offer Hope

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, December 5, 2020, from David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

On World AIDS Day 2020 We Re-Committed  

Fighting COVID did not distract us from marking World AIDS Day 2020 with an even greater commitment to end new transmissions and care for our patients living with HIV throughout their lives. We have reached significant milestones, yet the AIDS crisis isn't over. HIV infects 1.7 million people each year and kills another 690,000. 

Hope Begins with Health is our battle cry and our new campaign as we fight to continue care for PWH, as COVID continues to challenge us like nothing before.   

Our roots are deep from the lessons of compassionate care that the AIDS crisis taught us. From them we learned the importance of health equity for all, and COVID is calling on us to pay those lessons forward. We know that our founders would want us to expand our care to include COVID, a health crisis that long-term survivors are comparing to the earliest days of AIDS. You can read more here. 

Everyday Heroes 2020 Announced 

DAP is proud to honor the following Everyday Heroes for 2020: Dr. Terri Ketover and Dr. Tom Truhe.  

We honor them for their years of dedicated service and generous contributions of their passion, time and talents to DAP, and thousands of lives touched by their incredible leadership.   

We hope to resume our in-person event next year on World AIDS Day. This tradition bestows the title of Everyday Hero to humanitarians in our Valley leading the way to help people thrive with HIV, and to help prevent new infections.  

DAP In The News  

NBC Desert Living Now 

I spoke with Sandie Newton about how we are preparing for the future needs of our patients now.  I described our Hope Begins with Health campaign, our goal to raise the capital to continue offering HIV care, our COVID Clinic, and ever-expanding access to primary healthcare for our community. You can watch it here. 

Channel Q on Radio.com 

I talked with AJ Gibson and Mikalah Gordon about the significance of World AIDS Day, our origins as a volunteer-led organization, and how our HIV response has taught us that to defeat COVID, we have to eliminate stigma and discrimination and act to anchor our response in human rights. You can listen here. 

KESQ Evening News 

Steven Henke talked with Peter Daut about how DAP is echoing our roots, remembering that the solution for this epidemic, like the solution for COVID, is a community led solution. You can watch it here.  

DAP Talks: U=U  

With proper antiretroviral treatment (ART), people with HIV (PWH) cannot transmit the HIV virus to others. Treatment as prevention is a major breakthrough in the fight to stop new infections of HIV, and it offers hope in chipping away at the stigma PWH can carry with them. In this DAP Talks, U=U founder Bruce Richman explains. You can listen here