Since 1984, DAP’s mission has been to ensure people living in the Coachella Valley with HIV and AIDS lead healthy and happy lives, by receiving the comprehensive and compassionate care every human being deserves.
The mission of Desert AIDS Project is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of our community.
About Desert AIDS Project
“What you have done is demonstrate that concern for justice, compassion and love for fellow human beings, can accomplish miracles and can sustain human dignity and life where only fear and death would otherwise exist.”
Who we are—from humble beginnings
Founded in 1984 by a group of community volunteers in the face of the AIDS crisis, Desert AIDS Project (DAP) has been the Coachella Valley’s primary not-for-profit resource for those living with, affected by, or at-risk for HIV or AIDS.
Today, we are a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with the goal of improving the overall health of our entire community, especially the disenfranchised. DAP provides comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary and preventative health care services including; primary medical care, HIV and Hepatitis specialty care, dentistry, behavioral health and social services all-under-one-roof.
We have never lost touch with our volunteer roots, nor our expertise and dedication to combating the AIDS/HIV epidemic. In fact, our donors and volunteers are essential to our growth and expanded capacity to meet the needs of those facing economic disadvantage. As DAP continues to strive to become fiscally self-sustaining, we are so grateful to more than 400 volunteers who contribute over 60,000 hours of service annually – the equivalent of almost 30 full-time employees. In fact, two volunteers each worked 2,000 hours in the last year alone! Our volunteers receive neither a paycheck nor other paid benefits.
Who we serve—the need is great
While not immune to the pressures on state and federal budgets, DAP is as committed as ever to helping stop the spread of HIV in the Coachella Valley where the rate of infection is 400% greater than the national average. Our committed staff of volunteers continue to help us provide FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL testing seven days a week at locations throughout eastern Riverside County and the High Desert region of San Bernardino County.
The majority of our clients are low-income, medically-underserved community members. The Coachella Valley is characterized by a significantly wide disparity in income levels. While some communities in the region are affluent, low-income residents are increasing both in numbers and as a percentage of the total population. In our most immediate FQHC service area, more than 50% of the population is living under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
In addition to economic disadvantage, food and housing insecurity, as well as health disparities such as diabetes, mental illness, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse are prevalent. A growing aging population (due to the area’s relatively affordable cost of living for those on low or fixed incomes as compared to large metro areas), and limited employment opportunities (due to a tourism-based economy) add to the complexity of need.
With more than 4,000 clients currently in care, and more than half impacted by HIV/AIDS, we continue to see 30-40 new clients each month and know that the need is even greater than what we can currently provide. In addition, DAP’s Community Health department conducts HIV testing, education and early intervention services helping thousands more in our community.
What we provide—comprehensive, compassionate care
Until there’s a cure, the vision of DAP is of healthy individuals, families, and communities despite the existence of HIV. To bring this vision to life, the mission of DAP is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of our community.
We ensure access to care by offering a sliding scale fee for income-qualified individuals who are uninsured. Our range of services help address urgent needs, as well as provide a foundation for clients to achieve positive health outcomes and fulfill the goals that they have for their lives. DAP further removes barriers by providing the following services which include:
- Primary medical care
- HIV and Hepatitis specialty care
- Dental care
- Guidance from case managers for assessments, referrals, advocacy and benefits counseling
- Individual and group mental health services
- Individual and group substance abuse counseling
- Onsite laboratory diagnostic services
- Prescriptions filled at the in-house pharmacy
- Assistance with food, utilities, and transportation for qualified clients
- Housing Programs to assist with permanent and emergency housing needs
- Community-wide, free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, education and early intervention services
- Home healthcare
- Chiropractic, nutrition counseling and other wellness support
- Computer lab where volunteer tutors help clients build computer skills
- Help developing return-to-work strategies