• Sexual Wellness Services

Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Monday - Friday

Call: (760) 323-2118
8am to 5pm Mon - Fri

Rita Moreno and George Chakiris of “We …

Get your tickets NOW for Friday, November 14 at the Palm Springs Convention Center

PALM SPRINGS, CA, October 22, 2014 – It’s time for a quick quiz. What’s an EGOT?

The fastest answer could be either “Rita Moreno” or a very short of other luminaries in the entertainment industry. The more complete answer is that EGOT stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards – and there are only 12 people who have the distinction of winning all four major annual American entertainment awards. But … ahem … Rita Moreno was the very first EGOT performer, according to IMDb.

But EGOT  or not … when it comes to “West Side Story,” one of movie history’s best-known dance films, George Chakiris can stand proudly next to Ms. Moreno because they both won Oscars and Golden Globes for their Best Supporting roles. All in all, the movie took 30 awards – including the Oscar for Best Picture and the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Musical — .as well as seven other award nominations. Now, THAT is some dancing!!

We’re guessing that means Nina Beck, Natalie Brunell, Nino Eilets, Albert Gonzalez, Tom Kirk, Joe Pradetto, Mindy Reed, and Mary Silverman had better demonstrate some GREAT dancing chops with Moreno and Chakiris on the judging panel. “With judges like these – and one more yet to come – we’re really happy that we chose a larger venue, with the Palm Springs Convention Center,” said Dave Morgan, president of Reaction Productions. “With each year, the event has become more popular – which is really gratifying because it benefits the 100 Women program at Desert AIDS Project, to help women with HIV and their kids.”

Call your friends and plan to make a party of Dancing with the Desert Stars on Friday, November 14. But first, you’ll need to get your tickets NOW … by visiting desertAIDSproject.org or calling 760-992-0440. And make sure to read the dancer bios, by clicking on any of their photos, while you’re there … because even though the judges get to decide who will be the 2014 Desert Dancing Star, it’s YOU and the rest of the audience who will decide Fan Favorite!

100 Women meets the needs of women and children whose lives are affected by HIV or AIDS. They do this by funding gynecological services like pap smears, underwriting mammograms, helping ensure healthcare access, and so much more. Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) serves people living with HIV and AIDS by providing comprehensive support, including medical care, case management, and social services, like food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also offers free and confidential HIV testing at a number of locations throughout the communities it serves. To learn more about Desert AIDS Project, please call 760-323-2118, visit www.desertaidsproject.org or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

Housing is an essential therapy for peop …

“From the time they come in and say ‘I’m homeless,’ to the time they say, ‘I got the apartment!’ it’s so great,” beams Nichelle Austin, Housing Case Manager for Desert AIDS Project. “You see them a month later and they look so different because they’re able to say ‘I’ve got a house. I can sleep tonight.’ ”

Nichelle knows that providing housing is essential therapy for people living with HIV and AIDS, who are facing homelessness or already living on the streets. She’s seen it work many times. So has Housing Coordinator Monica Aitchison.

“When a client gets housing and can sustain it, his health improves,” Monica observes. “At first, his health is fragile. Then he gets better. He’s not so isolated. He’s more approachable. You can see the difference.”

That’s why D.A.P. includes 81 studio and one-bedroom apartments at the Vista Sunrise complex in the compassionate, comprehensive care package available to clients. Located next to our campus at Vista Chino and Sunrise Avenue, Vista Sunrise is just one of several ways we support clients in need of housing.

Follow the winding path through Vista Sunrise and you’ll see a cluster of two-story buildings with Spanish stucco facades in the hues of a Mojave sunset. The apartments are unfurnished and airy at about 352 square feet for studios and 534 for one bedrooms.  There is a full kitchen and bath in each unit with outdoor patios. And the grounds include a dog park and a pool. Residents can decorate their patio areas to suit their own tastes just as they do inside their homes.

Gina Hooten, Vista Sunrise’s property manager, points out that potential residents must be diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Applicants also have to undergo credit and criminal background checks. They must have a source of income, usually Social Security. Rent is based on a sliding scale of 30%-60%-of-income. This gets them into a space whose market value ranges from $650 to $700 a month for studios and $700 to $800 a month for a one-bedroom.

Our housing specialists say the need is growing. Perhaps it’s the economy or the fact that people move here because of the weather, the lower cost of living and availability of resources.  Whatever the reason, Vista Sunrise has a growing waiting list of six to eight months for one-bedrooms and 12 to 18 months for studios.

Your donations and support can mean a world of difference for someone who doesn’t know where they’ll be sleeping tonight. You can donate, volunteer, or help fundraise any time of the year to make sure there’s one less person on the streets.


During the 2011 Steve Chase gala, the husband-and-husband team of David Kaplan and Glenn Ostergaard happily surprised everyone by donating more than $50,000 as a challenge to audience members to “Fund-A-Need” for the many HIV medical and social services offered by Desert AIDS Project. This wasn’t the first time David and Glenn demonstrated generosity to D.A.P. They originated the Platinum category of the Partners for Life annual giving program in 2004 – with a gift of $25,000 from the Brautigam/Kaplan Foundation. The Foundation was established by David to fund both the arts and AIDS-related causes in honor of his first partner, Richard Brautigam, who died of AIDS complications in 1989.

After growing up in New York and earning a BS in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, David’s credentials from San Francisco State University led him to teaching positions in schools in the Bay Area. Living in San Francisco for 35 years, David ran a successful international manufacturing company and served on the boards of the San Francisco Art Institute, Shanti Project, Names Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt, and is currently a board member emeritus of the San Francisco Ballet. After moving to Palm Springs, David was a board member of Desert AIDS Project during some of its earliest years. Currently, David is a board member of the Pilchuck Glass School, the Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Brautigam/Kaplan Foundation.

Glenn graduated with a BA in Fine Arts, focusing on art history and painting, from Montclair State University. After graduation, he helped develop a graduate intern program at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, now called the Museum of Arts and Design. In 1975 he became the personal aide to the great American dancer Martha Graham, traveling internationally with her dance company. At Miss Graham’s suggestion, Glenn begin experimenting with three-dimensional forms, leading to the development of his pillow sculptures. ​ While maintaining an art career, Glenn also worked for a brokerage firm in Los Angeles for 20 years. Glenn has exhibited his paintings and sculpture in New York, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Desert. His work is in many private and corporate collections. He is represented by Austin Art Projects in Palm Desert.

Together, David and Glenn are among the Founding Benefactors of the Kaplan-Ostergaard Glass Center at the Palm Springs Art Museum. In addition to their participation at the Museum, they have established a lending program from their personal glass collection, which comprises over 240 works, representing over 80 internationally-recognized glass artists.​

$10 gift card offered during expanded ho …

Desert AIDS Project marks National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

PALM SPRINGS, CA, March 6, 2013 – “Share knowledge; take action” is the message being spread by National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, as it seeks to shed light on the often-overlooked impact of HIV/AIDS among this segment of the American population.

The most recent figures show that women and girls account for two-thirds of people in the U.S. who contracted HIV through heterosexual sex. The rate of infection among African-American women and girls continues to be disproportionately affected with an HIV infection rate 20 times that of white women and girls, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health.

“More and more women have become infected with HIV since it was first reported in the early 1980s,” said David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project. “It’s time for women and girls to get tested, to learn how to stay negative, or to get connected to care and medication if they are HIV-positive.”

Although National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day falls on a Sunday this year, D.A.P. will mark it the following day with expanded testing hours and a gift card. From 2:00 – 7:00 PM on Monday, March 11 every woman or girl getting an HIV test and staying to learn its results – available in about 20 minutes – will receive a $10 gift card.

This offer is good only at Desert AIDS Project’s main campus at 1695 N. Sunrise Way in Palm Springs. While appointments are not necessary, they are encouraged. Gift cards will be made available only while supplies last.

Desert AIDS Project serves people living with HIV and AIDS by providing comprehensive support, including medical care, case management, and social services, like food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also offers free and confidential HIV testing at a number of locations throughout the communities it serves. To learn more about Desert AIDS Project, please call 760-323-2118, visit www.desertaidsproject.org or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

Desert AIDS Project welcomes Dr. Steven …

Providing primary and HIV-specialty medical services

PALM SPRINGS, CA, January 23, 2013 – Dr. Steven Scheibel, MD has joined the staff of Desert AIDS Project in the Wells Fargo HIV Health Center.

After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana with a BS in biology, Scheibel received his MD from the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine in Chicago, graduating cum laude. Following his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Hospital, Scheibel was an instructor and Fellow in Medicine in the Infectious Disease Unit at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry for four years.

Scheibel was co-founder of the nonprofit Community Health Network (CHN,) a clinic serving HIV-infected people, in Rochester, NY where he served as Associate Medical Director for more than three years. CHN cares for 800-1,000 patients, providing comprehensive health care, including clinical research.

After moving to California in 1994, Scheibel worked in a number of positions, including not only direct client service provision but also in research. While consulting for Roche Molecular Systems in Alameda, he assisted in the development of a test to measure plasma HIV levels with a high degree of sensitivity, as well as a DNA assay to monitor cell-associated-HIV in response to combination antiretroviral therapy.

“Dr. Scheibel is a welcome addition to our medical staff because we pride ourselves on providing the best possible care to our clients,” says David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project. “All of our physicians are credentialed by the American Association of HIV Medicine and possess the most current base of knowledge for treating HIV and AIDS.”

Desert AIDS Project serves people living with HIV and AIDS by providing comprehensive support, including medical care, case management, and social services, like food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also offers free and confidential HIV testing at a number of locations throughout the communities it serves. To learn more about Desert AIDS Project, please call 760-323-2118, visit www.desertaidsproject.org or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

Positive Examples: The HIV Story Project

Last World AIDS Day, Desert AIDS Project was lucky enough to host the film Still Around: 30 years of AIDS, 15 stories of hope for attendees. The film showcased short films by, for, and about people living with HIV/ AIDS to mark the 30th anniversary of the first report of AIDS in the country. One of these short works was directed by D.A.P. volunteer Daniel Cardone, who became involved in the film through the nonprofit, The HIV Story Project.

The HIV Story Project aims to share stories of HIV-positive lives through multiple media platforms, including web, film, public installations, and trainings. Based in San Francisco, the HIV Story Project will be one of many HIV/AIDS organizations across the country to gather at the upcoming 19th Annual International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.

Supported with a $1000 donation from D.A.P., the HIV Story Project will present the Generations HIV storytelling booth inside the Global Village at the IAC, giving attendees a chance to record questions, answers, and unheard stories as a sort of new media AIDS quilt. D.A.P. is proud to support the efforts of organizations like the HIV Story Project in spreading the messages of hope, raw emotion, resilience, and strength from people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

This piece was featured in the Summer 2012 Progress Report. Read the entire thing here.

Thank you for a great evening of enterta …

I hope that all of you who were at the 18th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards gala on Saturday, February 11 felt we delivered on our theme for the evening: “One Day – A Message of Hope.”

The tragic news of Whitney Houston’s death just shortly before the gala began shook some of the performers … but as true professionals, Queen Latifah, Wynonna Judd, Megan Mullally, and David Burnham all delivered incredible performances.

Our honorees – Peter Gallagher, Karolee Sowle, Andrew Green, Hydeia Broadbent, and Matt Bomer – delivered touching, inclusive acceptance speeches that reminded us that we’re all in this together. A special thanks to our incredible sponsors, donors, and volunteers who “walk that walk” every day through their generous donation of time, talent, and money to Desert AIDS Project.

The biggest news of the evening came when Annette Bloch announced a $1 MILLION gift to create the Annette Bloch Cancer Care Center at D.A.P.!!

Annette Bloch announces her gift of $1 million to D.A.P. for cancer care

Her news inspired others during the “Fund a Need” section of our live auction, raising an additional $120,000 for client care and social services. Those pledging $10,000 included John Conboy, Jim Burba and Bob Hayes, Michael Johnston and David Zippel, and Terri and Bart Ketover. Pledging $5,000 each were Earl Gauger, Jim Houston, Jim Hurley, Harold Matzner, Cookie and Mike Miller, and Kirstin Pollack.

Among those cheering the loudest was Jim Casey, CEO of Integrated Wealth Management, now in the fourth year of a five-year, million-dollar commitment as Presenting Sponsor of the annual gala. Jim and his gala co-chair, the resplendent Barbara Keller, have done an amazing job for the fourth consecutive year.

Although I’m not sure HOW they’re going to do it, they are promising to REALLY knock our socks off with next year’s gala … so put February 9, 2013 on your calendar now!!

Returning once again as Pinnacle Sponsor at $125,000 was Wells Fargo, represented by Tim Hanlon, attending the gala with his partner, Tony Klatt. Harold Matzner, Time Warner Cable, and Walgreens, each provided $50,000 as Producing Sponsors. Annette Bloch, Desert Regional Medical Center, and Helene Galen each contributed $25,000 for the third consecutive year as Award Sponsors, as did our Major Sponsors The Auen Foundation, Eisenhower Medical Center, Integrated Mortgage Management, and Union Bank. I hope you will join me in thanking and supporting all of these wonderful people and organizations. For a complete list of the gala’s Star and Supporting Sponsors, Benefactors, and Patrons, please see our website.

The live auction portion of the evening – raising $95,500 – included THREE catered affairs by LULU from Barbara and Jerry Keller and Wille Rhine, a VIP Experience for “The Book of Mormon” in New York City, a party package from Milan Tojagic of Shame on the Moon, and a car donated by FIAT of Palm Springs.

A final thank you to all of our media sponsors and the press that covered the gala. Thanks to them, we received incredible coverage in Palm Springs, nationwide through E! News, and around the world through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. For more photos of the event, please visit the D.A.P. website, our Facebook page, or the Wire Image website.

The final accounting of the 18th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards is still being completed. We don’t yet know if we’ll achieve our goal of $1.5 million raised but we DO know – yet again – how incredibly fortunate we are to have the support of all of you.

Until there’s a cure …

David Brinkman, MBA
CEO, Desert AIDS Project

Testing for other STDs

As our region’s premiere HIV/AIDS organization, we are committed to an individual’s holistic health, especially sexual health. Although government funding for prevention and education has been significantly cut back in the past two years, Desert AIDS Project knows it’s still just as important today to promote sexual wellness in our local community.

One of the best and easiest ways to get the prevention conversation going is testing, which is why we offer free and confidential HIV testing five days a week in at least four Coachella Valley cities. In addition to HIV testing, the main Palm Springs location offers syphilis testing twice a week due to rising rates of infection, particularly amongst gay men.

But what about other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? As the CDC notes, having an STD can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV. Where can our community turn to get tested for other STDs? While D.A.P. does not test for all STDs, our knowledgeable staff are able to direct any and all people needing to be tested for other STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes.

If getting tested by your local doctor is not an option (whether out of fear or embarrassment) there are other local resources to turn to:

Riverside County Department of Public Health
Appointment line: 1.800.720.9553
Two locations – one in Palm Springs (right next to us!) and one in Indio

Riverside County STD Program

Mecca Family Health Clinic
91275 66th Avenue Suite 500,
Mecca, CA 92254
Appointments and Clinic: 760.396.1249

Planned Parenthood-Rancho Mirage
71777 San Jacinto Drive, Suite 202
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Planned Parenthood-Coachella
49-111 Highway 111, Unit 6, Suite A
Coachella, CA 92236

Planned Parenthood-Moreno Valley
12900 Frederick Street, Suite C
Moreno Valley, CA 92553

Planned Parenthood-Riverside
3772 Tibbetts
Riverside, CA 92506

Other general information sources are:

The National HIV and STD Testing Resources page, which allows you to input your zip code and find testing centers in your area.

Palm Springs Gay Men’s Health offers helpful information and connects you to local resources in the Palm Springs area.

There are plenty of resources available on the web and at various sites to become informed about one’s sexual health. Education, prevention and testing are vital tools to protecting one’s health and well-being and are also important steps in decreasing the number of new STD infections. Oftentimes, when your physician administers a health checkup, they don’t always check for STDs, it’s important that you make the request to get tested for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. Be sure to take advantage of local resources and be sure to tell others about these health and wellness tools!

Remember, you can always call or email us with questions about any of this. We try to respond in a timely manner, sometimes, in just a matter of hours!

D.A.P. exemplifies essential components …

A newly released policy paper published last month by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) outlines the essential requirements of an effective HIV care model. Desert AIDS Project achieves many of the goals, services and elements outlined in the policy paper for promoting positive health outcomes for HIV-positive people. The paper states that, among other things, the major elements for an effective HIV care model include:

  • HIV testing within communities combined with efficient linkage to HIV care providers and specialty care
  • Access to integrated medical care all under one roof, commonly implemented through the “medical home” model
  • A holistic approach towards care that provides social services for clients

HIV testing and linkage to care
Free and confidential HIV testing is available in various cities throughout Riverside County through Desert AIDS Project. In total, Desert AIDS Project has initiated testing efforts in over 20 communities and groups throughout our service-area. Health Educators and Early Intervention Specialists link any person who is HIV-positive with the services here.

Medical Home model
We provide a majority of our services all under one roof at our Palm Springs campus. Case management and primary and specialty care providers form the base of care operations here. Case managers assist clients to identify needs and coordinate the variety of clinical and social services required to remove barriers to, avoid duplication of, and maintain engagement in care. Telemedicine capabilities in conjunction with off-site partners allow D.A.P. clients to receive some medical advice without having to schedule appointments elsewhere. Gynecologic services for women ensure our HIV-positive female clients receive thorough medical care.  The three-year old dental clinic at the Palm Springs campus – Riverside county’s first HIV-specialty dental clinic – is also a testament to the integrated medical care model that we strive to offer for clients.

HIV providers and expertise
Well-qualified physicians make up the HIV care team at Desert AIDS Project at the main campus in Palm Springs. Our staff of  providers demonstrates HIV expertise and experience with specialty training. Five providers of HIV care in our medical clinics are Certified HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVS). There is no higher credential one can earn specific to HIV. These providers are Dr. Hawthorne, Dr.Kerkar, Physician’s Assistant Jean Davis, Ph.D and Dr.Shiu. Even D.A.P. specialists Dr. Dew, certified in Preventative Medicine/Public Health and Occupational Medicine, and psychiatrist Dr. Torban, who has been recognized as one of America’s Top Psychiatrist’s, make certain that D.A.P. clients receive the best relevant care no matter what. Dr Hawthorne–who holds both AAHIVS certification and is certified in Infectious Diseases by the American Board of Internal Medicine–currently, serves as D.A.P.’s Interim Medical Director.

Holistic care and social services
Access to essential HIV medications and holistic social services also show that D.A.P. is on the right track . Clients have access to a Walgreens pharmacy on site that contains all of the stock of a regular pharmacy, while also carrying essential HIV medications. Eligible clients can also receive nutrition and food assistance through our monthly farmer’s market at the Food Depot or obtain help navigating housing opportunities. Support groups, nutrition workshops, alcohol and substance abuse counseling, yoga & meditation classes, and access to legal services round out some of the social services offered at D.A.P.

It is clear that Desert AIDS Project is on the right path for promoting positive health outcomes for our clients by providing effective, integrated care under one roof and taking a holistic approach towards HIV/AIDS treatment. We will continue to meet the evolving needs of our clients to ensure everyone in our community has a right to a decent quality of life.

Download the free HIV testing anthem her …

“‘The Power to Be Strong’ song and music video campaign has been created to reach millions of people around the world about the importance of voluntary HIV counseling & testing and increased adherence to safer sex, and to empower the valiant efforts of any organization or individual participating anywhere in the battle against HIV/AIDS. As a person living powerfully with HIV, I am honored to share my experience, strength, hope, and song in support of the care, prevention, and advocacy services of Desert AIDS Project. Get tested and live longer and be strong!” — Nicholas Snow, Singer/Songwriter

Right-click and save to download “The Power to Be Strong”

Watch the video here. View and share in over 20 languages on Facebook and YouTube!

About Nicholas Snow