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

Speed Friending, Sexual Health, Recovery …

Speed Friending, Sexual Health, Recovery and More: DAP Health is Bringing it to Palm Springs Pride 

Words by Charles Sanchez 

Palm Springs Pride has a long, fabulous tradition of celebrating diversity and community, and this year, DAP Health’s Pride Pavilion will be right in the heart of it. The pavilion will be located at 205 S. Palm Canyon Drive at the intersection of Palm Canyon and Arenas Drive, and will be open Friday, November 4 at 11:00 am through Sunday, November 6 at 5:00 pm. 

To foster connection and camaraderie this year, DAP Health has engaged the talents of Palm Springs’ own, the glamorous Ms. Patty Cakes to host a little get together game at Pride she likes to call “Speed Friending.” The game will commence at 5pm on Friday, November 4th, just in time to get you ready for a fabulous and friendly weekend. 

“Like speed dating,” Patty said, “it’s about meeting someone briefly for a minute, maybe two minutes, and then moving on to the next person.” It’s Patty’s hope that people from different cliques in the community will break down barriers and form new connections. “There’s all these little subsets within our community,” she said. “That’s what I love about pride; we get to be with each other together.” 

But why speed friending? “Dating is a charged word that comes with a lot of bias and baggage,” Patty explained. “But after all, in one way or another we are ‘dating’ everyone in our lives: our barista, the checkout girl, hell I’m even dating my new puppy!” She went on to say when the word dating is unweaponized, it simply means being in a relationship with those around us. “And by that definition,” she said, “during pride weekend, we are all dating each other!” 

Speed Friending is only one little nugget of deliciousness that DAP Health will be providing. The Pride Pavilion will offer a little something for everyone: yoga, recovery meetings, Raw sex talk, country line dancing, sound bath meditation and more. 

Steven Henke, Director of Brand Marketing for DAP Health said, “The Health Pavilion is going to offer the gift of wellness, free, exactly where our community is that weekend.” People will be able to walk into the pavilion and see exactly who DAP Health is and what is offered. They’ll experience the community health team’s approach to sexual wellness and harm reduction for every section of the LGBTQ+ family.  

“They’ll also be able to see the other non-profits that we partner with that we are inviting into the space,” Henke said, “like Planned Parenthood, Brothers of the Desert, the L Fund, and the LGBTQ Center of the Desert.” Riverside County will also be there, providing Monkeypox vaccinations on site.  

“I would like to invite everyone to stop by the Pavilion,” Patty Cakes said, “because Pride has a party aspect and a social aspect, but there’s also the opportunity to learn safe sex, health, mental health.” She concluded, “I want to interject that energy--learning and living--into my best gay life!” 

Brothers of the Desert: Our Rhythm, Our …

Our Rhythm, Our Power: Wellness Meeting Focuses on Black Gay Men’s Health  

Words by Lorenzo Taylor

The Brothers of the Desert know that “wellness” is much more than just taking care of physical health.  For the past four years this local Black gay men’s group has organized a one-day meeting with expert presentations on physical, spiritual, and mental health issues of importance to Black gay men.  The theme of this year’s Wellness Summit is “Our Rhythm, Our Power: Living Our Best Black Gay Lives” and it will be held on Saturday, November 12 at the Margaritaville Resort. The day-long event features innovative workshops and panel discussions on a diverse range of topics, such as spirituality, relationships, mental health, aging, trauma of racism, prevention, physical health, Black LGBTQ history, healthy sex, creative expression, financial planning, and more.   

The event has grown over the years and attracts participants locally and from around the country. Brothers of the Desert board president Tim Vincent says “We are so proud to bring these dynamic speakers together to share their expertise with our community. There will be opportunities to learn, connect and meet new people while attending the workshops.” Participants will get an opportunity to engage with the twenty featured speakers informally at a pre-Summit reception on Friday evening. 

Actor Alton Fitzgerald White, who starred in the Lion King on Broadway, will be the keynote speaker and will set an upbeat tone based on his best-selling book My Pride: Mastering Life’s Daily Performance.  Medical topics will be covered by four practicing physicians, Dr. Leo Moore, Dr. Alex del Rosario, Dr. Curly L. Bonds, and Dr. Cliff Wynne and there will be blood pressure checks and an onsite pop-up Monkeypox (MPX) vaccination clinic.  But the Summit will go far beyond these physical concerns.  A favorite Summit speaker, Bishop Yvette Flunder, will return to electrify attendees with her spirit-filled affirmation of LGBTQ+ lives within the Christian faith. There will also be opportunities to choose workshops that explore how touch, music, and writing can heal the wounded spirit. Black gay novelist Larry Duplechan and other published authors will discuss how expressing life experiences through writing has been transformative and healing.  Financial health topics will be covered by Chauncey Thompson of Barton CPA, in response to past participants’ desire to reduce stress around having adequate resources for living and retirement.  

DAP Health is once again an official sponsor of the Summit.  It will have staff at an information table at the meeting and has partnered with Brothers of the Desert to provide a little taste of the Summit in their Palm Springs Pride pavilion on November 6th.  Motivational speaker Dr. Stephan Scoggins and spiritual leader Tony Bradford will do mini-presentations to discuss boosting one’s self-esteem and developing one’s own spiritual practice. Tim Vincent says “We appreciate this opportunity to showcase some of the talented speakers who bring a different life experience to their work and to strengthen our enduring collaboration with DAP Health.” 

Attendance at the Summit is free and open to all who have an interest in Black gay men’s health.  In addition, some of the Summit speakers are offering special live performances to the community during the weekend.  On Friday, November 11 comedic actor Ralph Cole Jr. and soul/folk/reggae singer Nhojj will perform at the Palm Springs Cultural Center and on Sunday, November 13 Alton Fitzgerald White will sing Broadway and Disney songs in a concert at the Palm Springs United Methodist Church.  Full details, as well as registration for the Summit and for the community events can be found on their website 

DAP Health Connects with Community for N …

DAP Health Connects with Community for National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day 

Words by Charles Sanchez 

Saturday, October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), a day to raise HIV awareness for the Latinx community and encourage testing, prevention, and care. DAP Health continues our mission to advocate for the health needs of all our citizens, and we are passionate about addressing the specific challenges facing our Latinx community. 

Latinxs are among the most vulnerable when it comes to HIV. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control)) estimates that among the 34,800 new cases reported in 2019, 29% were to Latinxs. In Riverside County, in 2020, 50% of those living with HIV are Hispanic, and 22% of new cases are in Latino men.  

C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health, and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health, spoke to the ways DAP Health is making strides to bring information and services to Latinxs in our area. “In July, we opened a new sexual wellness clinic in Indio that’s completely free, including HIV appointments and PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-exposure Prophylaxis) services.” The new clinic was opened when it was realized that many clients were having to drive 30-40 minutes each way to DAP Health’s main Palm Springs campus, and a majority were Latinxs.  

“We just opened July 11, so it's very new,” Tobe says. New, but the community response has been remarkable. In the first few weeks between the clinic opening and the end of August, DAP Health was able to get 20 patients started on PrEP and serve 200 patient visits in August alone. “It is already booming; we have also had OB-GYN doctors referring their female patients who are pregnant to get treated for STIs. It was the right move for the community, opening that clinic.” DAP Health has made services in the sexual wellness clinics completely free, eliminating that cost barrier.  

“DAP Health opened the clinic in the middle of Latino community. Eighty percent of our staff is bilingual. All our informational brochures are in Spanish and English,” To make things easier to navigate for Spanish-speaking patients, all signage at the Indio location is in both English and Spanish, and all forms are as well. 

Moreover, DAP Health tackles the needs of undocumented people who may not speak English and may be distrustful or baffled by the healthcare system. “We have staff that have gone through the process themselves. When a new patient comes to us with these challenges, we immediately connect them with those life-experienced staff to establish trust and help that patient.” 

To mark National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, DAP Health is sending out mobile units to the San Jacinto college resource fair. Tobe explains, “we’ll be providing HIV testing, STI testing and a whole lot of outreach at the college.” DAP Health will also be on the other side of the Coachella Valley. “We’re also going to be giving out free HIV self-test kits at the Revivals store in Indio, so those are two big events that we’re doing on the 15th.” The tests include a phone number to help with questions and support, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

This is the 19th National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day,” Tobe looks at this as a way for DAP Health to let the community know that “we are here, and we want to listen to you.”  DAP Health asks what the organization can we do to make things easier for the community. Whether it is language translation or transportation to the clinic. DAP Health wants to know what it can do to help you live your healthiest life. 

Tobe believes that one of the most important things DAP Health has done is hire a community health team, which includes a trans-identified community worker, and Latino and Latina members of the team. “We've expanded access for anybody and everybody, but specifically Latinos, to be able to access sexual wellness services, HIV prevention methods, whether it's testing or whether it's PrEP, free of cost and also free of judgment.”