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

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

DAP Health rolls out harm reduction prog …

DAP Health rolls out harm reduction program to provide care for people living with addiction 

Contact: Leighton Ginn                                  
Public Relations Specialist  
(760) 567-2983  

lginn@daphealth.org.    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

Program approved Jan. 10, 2022 by the California Department of Public Health 

This Spring, DAP Health will unveil its harm reduction program that will have two components. First, Overdose prevention and secondly a Syringe Services Program (SSP) that will include health services and behavioral health support to combat the rise in preventable overdoses and the increase in new HIV cases.  

The multi-layered program will focus on education for the community, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, distribution and collection of syringes and referrals to support folks through their addiction journey.  

Additional services to be provided: Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death, and Fentanyl test strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose.  

In the latest preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100,000 people in the U.S. died from overdoses during the 12-month period from April 2020 through April 2021. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm) 

In Riverside County, there has been an 800 percent increase in fentanyl-related deaths since 2016, according to Rivco.org.  (https://www.rivco.org/news/riverside-county-committee-combat-fentanyl-abuse).  

Palm Springs has an overdose death rate 300 percent higher than the state average.  

Palm Springs Police Department Chief Andy Mills was able to review the harm reduction program and was impressed with how complete it is.  

“It’s important to remember the dynamics that go into a program like this,” Mills says. “That’s what excites me. Not only is DAP Health looking at helping people, but genuinely helping people so they are not destructive to themselves or our community.” 

DAP Health is only the second state certified Syringe Services Program (SSP) in Riverside County, which is the 10th most populated county in the United States.  

Because of the rising numbers, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Bacerra says the federal government supports harm reduction, which includes direct support and care to people who actively struggle with substance misuse.  

“DAP Health will begin deepening our relationship with people living with addiction by adding a harm reduction approach to our first-aid kit of solutions,” says C.J. Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness. “We will do this without stigma or judgment because you cannot treat someone who does not trust you. Harm reduction is an important tactic in DAP Health’s ongoing work to end the HIV epidemic.  Work that begins with meeting folks where they are.” 

Education  

  • Overdose prevention  
  • Safer injecting  
  • Risk reduction counseling  
  • Education to community partners  

Testing  

  • Free HIV/HCV testing  
  • Fentanyl strips for testing drugs before use to decrease likelihood of overdose  

Equipment  

  • Naloxone/Narcan to reverse overdose and prevent death  
  • Phone number and email to DAP Health for the community to report used syringes that need to be picked up and disposed of, or to request education related to harm reduction strategies at HarmReduction@DAPHealth.org or 760 992-0453. 
  • New syringes and intake/dispose of used syringes  
  • New injecting supplies  
  • Safer sex kits  
  • Safer smoking kits   

Referrals To 

  • Substance use counselors  
  • Outpatient Drug Free program DAP Health 
  • Local recovery and treatment centers  
  • DAP Health’s peer support specialist  
  • Early Intervention Specialist (EIS) for anyone with HIV and/or Hepatitis C for treatment  
  • Insurance enrollment and connection to health care and other social support services  
  • DAP Health’s Sexual Wellness Clinic (Orange Clinic) for STI testing and/or Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)  
  • Food and housing    

 

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 health care, 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.  

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Tas …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Jeff Hocker
(760)409-1530
jeffhocker1@gmail.com

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force Launches Capital Campaign During World AIDS Day

(Palm Springs, CA) November 30, 2021… The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force is excited to announce that the AIDS Memorial Sculpture is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Palm Springs City Council recently unanimously approved the acceptance of the Sculpture to be placed in the new Downtown City Park. The Task Force has also partnered with DAP Health to provide a dedicated link to enable community members to help fund the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture, visit https://www.daphealth.org/aids-memorial-fund/.

“December 1, World AIDS Day was chosen as the launch, as it signifies the remembrance of those we’ve lost to HIV/AIDS and gives renewed hope that one day, the virus will be eradicated. It is our responsibility to remember their lives and to continue to tell their stories, so that they are never forgotten,” said Mike Richey, Co-Chair National AIDS Memorial. “AIDS has affected every community across the world, and it is for this reason that AIDS Memorials should be established to honor & remember those lost.”  

The Task Force’s vision is to provide the AIDS Memorial Sculpture as a gift to the City of Palm Springs and people of the Valley. Internationally acclaimed artist based in the Coachella Valley, Phillip K. Smith, III, has been commissioned to design the memorial, which will provide an opportunity for reflection, remembrance and hope once its placed in the new City of Palm Springs Downtown Park.

“The AIDS Memorial Sculpture will be a touchstone for unity, hope, grief, and healing in the Coachella Valley.  As a monolithic, singular stone sculpture, the carved surfaces will dance with light, shadow, and reflection.  Through rotating grooves cut into the gloss surface as matte marks signifying unity through struggle or the soft curve of undulating forms evoking healing over grief, this is a memorial to be touched, to be felt. It is a timeless, enduring landmark delicately placed on the land. It is heavy, but light -- lifting hope, lifting struggle, and lifting up what is important,” described Phillip K. Smith, III.

The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Task Force’s mission is to ensure the lives of those lost are never forgotten, and that their stories and lives are remembered into the future.  We also envision an opportunity to use this memorial as a means to educate the public about HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment options available to everyone who seeks information and to help direct individuals to resources available to them throughout the city, and the country.

The goal of the Task Force is to raise the necessary funds to support the creation, installation and ongoing resources to maintain this sculpture for generations to come.  Given the impact that HIV/AIDS has had on our community, we believe there will be great support for securing the necessary funds to make this AIDS Memorial Sculpture a reality. 

Donations to the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Fund can be done by visiting https://www.daphealth.org/aids-memorial-fund/. For more information contact:  Dan Spencer, Member Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force at dan@danspencerstudio.com.

DAP Health Advocates for and Supports LG …

DAP Health Advocates for and Supports LGBTQ+ Community at Greater Palm Spring Pride 

DAP Health walked with pride alongside a bright progressive rainbow of other community organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community during the 35th Annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival.  The advocacy-based healthcare organization has provided community healthcare since 1984 and proudly sponsored this year's community stage which highlighted local talent. 

This year's Pride event drew tens of thousands of enthusiastic participants from around the globe who gathered in Palm Springs for a weekend of community, music, friends, and of course, the legendary Palm Springs Pride Parade which featured over 250 entrants this year. 

“It was overwhelming to be together again at this year’s parade,” says Nick Valenziano, DAP Health Manager of Executive Affairs.  Valenziano organized DAP Health’s participation in Pride this year alongside a committee made up of DAP Health employees.  “As I watched the street fill up with all the participants, it really hit me that I hadn’t been among the community in this way in such a long time.” 

DAP Health’s Pride Parade contingent returned to its advocacy roots this year inviting employees and supporters to carry signs that amplified the organization's commitment to health equity. Some of the signs read “No Stigma,” “Sex Work Is Work,” “Mental Health is Health”, “Black Lives Matter,” and “U=U”.   

DAP Health Director of Brand Marketing, Steven Henke explains.  “Our approach was to focus our messaging on the very real challenges faced by the communities we serve.  Stigma and shame remain barriers to health care for too many people living with HIV or mental health challenges.  The U=U campaign (undetectable equals untransmittable) aims to end the stigma around HIV that keeps too many people from getting tested for HIV or obtaining the care they need to stay healthy. At the end of the day, the message we wanted to deliver is that DAP Health welcomes all people. Period."    

“You could feel the energy moving in both directions, all of us greeting them and them waving back, shouting and clapping,” Valenziano said. “It was like we were all rediscovering humanity.”   

DAP Health’s Department of Community Health team provided education, counseling, and testing to hundreds of Pride goers who took advantage of free and confidential HIV testing, STI testing, PrEP consultations, and the condom bar offerings.  The message they delivered:  We offer judgment FREE testing and treatment.  

DAP Health's focus on sexual wellness remains on the forefront of a trend that has seen an increase in STI's 

CJ Tobe, Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health, explains "we’ve continued to see an increase in STIs through the COVID pandemic, but even more specifically in the last 6 months we’ve seen a significant increase in syphilis and gonorrhea.”   

DAP Health continues to offer free services in its Orange Clinic.  Free services include testing and treatment for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis;HIV and hepatitis C testing; andpre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP— treatments available for those at risk of coming into contact with HIV and those who may have already been exposed to it. 

The Orange Clinic provides anyone who tests positive for HIV with rapid start medication and links them to care. 

DAP Health offers free grief group for t …

DAP Health offers free grief group for those who've lost ones they love 

The holiday season is a time of joy, but it can also be a period of stress and anxiety for many of us—and even tinged with sadness if you're unable to spend it with family, or have recently lost someone special.  

Yet according to Dr. Jill Gover, DAP Health's Director of Behavioral Health, it’s normal to feel sad this time of year if someone has recently died. "Don’t pretend to be happy just because it’s the holiday season." 

To help people on their journey through what may be a difficult holiday season for them, DAP Health is offering "Grief’s Courageous Journey: A Bereavement Therapy Group." This free, 10-week program—which begins on December 1—has been designed to process grief and the loss of a loved one. Based on the workbook titled “Grief’s Courageous Journey,” Dr. Gover created a 12-week curriculum seven years ago when she was the Mental Health Director at the Scott Hines Mental Health Clinic @ The Center. "I had found the book was very helpful to grieving patients and I wanted to create a structured treatment protocol that would lend itself to group work," she says. 

The therapy group is limited to a maximum of 12 to 15 people (and can be as small as 6 participants) and is a "closed group," meaning the same people attend each week. "At the beginning, everyone reviews the confidentiality code and is asked not to discuss anything personal about group members outside of the group," says Dr. Gover. "Trust comes from sharing the therapeutic exercises and getting to know each other over time—and because it's a closed group that makes it easier to trust others."  

She goes on to say that, "This is a very specific, evidenced-based structured psycho-educational bereavement group that uses therapeutic exercises to help participants process their grief." So it's unlike regular group therapy which is not focused on a specific topic.  

"The therapeutic exercises help the group participants to identify and acknowledge their feelings, explore any survivor’s guilt, resentment or anger that might be stuffed away, provides opportunity to reflect on all aspects of the death, and then offers ways to move forward," explains Dr. Gover. 

The group will meet in person on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in DAP Health's Behavioral Health Clinic. For more information, or to enroll, contact Ian Struthers, LCSW at 760-323-2118, extension 408. 

If you're unable to participate in the group, try to remember that the holidays don't have to be perfect. Dr. Gover has pointed out that it's vital to recognize that others are also experiencing holiday stress and depression. "I think it’s really important to be kind to yourself, reassess, and let go of perfectionistic, unrealistic expectations, and perhaps establish new rituals for the holidays this year that reflect who you are now." 

Revivals Back Alley Event 2021 Shines a …

Revivals Back Alley Event 2021 Shines a Light on Leather Community

This community is ready to start coming out again, and the numbers prove it.

The Revivals Back Alley After Dark event brought in $13,000.00 for patient services at DAP Health, more than double from last year’s, and $3,000 more than the team’s goal. In its first collaboration, co-sponsoring was Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert (PSLOD), a significant fundraiser for HIV and health equity in the Coachella Valley. PSLOD will also host Palm Springs Leather Pride Weekend, from October 28-31.

Event organizers and partners say After Dark’s healthy turnout is a sign that people are feeling safer and eager to re-connect with others.

“These sales numbers are unheard of,” says Revivals volunteer Mark Musin.

Eager for the hunt, 278 shoppers didn’t mind queuing up at the Palm Springs Revivals for almost three hours before doors opened at 6 p.m. More than 700 shoppers had made purchases by closing time.

Very little was left after two hours and more than 1,000 clothing items, including leather jackets, chaps, vests, and hats were scooped up.

It was easy for shoppers to fill containers with leather and other treasures after finding them neatly displayed on racks by friendly volunteers who offered sizing and selection advice. This included an impressive amount of revamped and shiny leather shoes and boots.

Check-out lines never stopped moving, and volunteers engaged customers to collect hangers and help guide them as they finished.

Volunteers Make the Difference

After Dark brought together 30 volunteers from all four Revivals stores, ten more compared to last year.

“We all like working together so much,” says Mark. “It was a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to see each other and even for some to meet for the first time.”

When Mark saw volunteers from other Revivals locations working so naturally with the Palm Springs team to straighten and restock items, plus help customers, he knew it was all worth the effort.

“It’s about the community they love to serve, and it’s the camaraderie they share,” he says. “It had them all joining in, and they did a great job!”

Saving Best Inventory for Back Alley Event

Leather themed clothing and gear is always costly, and many find exploring the subculture intimidating.  But at Revivals, shoppers were able to pick up leather chaps for $20 used, instead of $400 new. Leather jackets were plentiful and started at $10 instead of $500 new.

Harnesses, suspenders, and belts sold out in the first ten minutes.

Special toys for grownups, gay literature and nude magazines, movies,  and framed art that need new homes wind up at Revivals year-round. Saving them for an appropriate and safe venue like After Dark means that these items can be re-used, and members of this community continue to enjoy great care from DAP Health. 

The idea for Back Alley After Dark was born over three years ago as Revivals Stores took a stand on recycling and decided that tossing donations that were considered too racy was not an option. And the more Revivals talked to the community it serves, the more it learned this gently used merchandise is in demand in a valley where economic disparities abound.

“We live in a desert mirage of two valleys,” says Steven Henke, director of brand marketing at DAP Health and in charge of marketing and communications for Revivals. “There are lucky folks with great jobs, who can afford to buy new leather gear and brand new anything they want, and there are other folks who need to find things on a budget.”

With Revivals After Dark, anyone who wants to be part of the leather community or even just buy the look can find truly affordable deals, he says.

“That is so on-brand for DAP Health, because we are all about inclusivity, collaboration, and bringing folks together in a positive way,” Steven says.

Health remains the driving motivation for this event, with proceeds funding comprehensive medical care at DAP Health, including through Desert AIDS Walk, and a donation to PSLOD.

“We are so grateful for this collaboration with Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert,” says Steven. “We can’t wait to see what the future holds through partnering.”

More freedom this year to socialize

Thanks to vaccinations, masks, and a public eager to experience our Southern California fall, outdoor events like Desert AIDS Walk 2021 and Palm Springs Gay Pride 2021 will return to being “peopled” for the first time since the pandemic began.

And for largely indoor events like Palm Springs Leather Pride, safety protocols ensure everyone in attendance can enjoy and explore without forfeiting safety.

This is good news for a very in-person community beginning its social season. After more than 18 months of avoiding crowds, people want to see each other again.

“It’s becoming so nice to approach people whom I haven’t seen since the pandemic started, simply to say, ‘I’m happy you’re here still here’,” says Dan Smith, co-chair of Leather Pride Weekend.

Charitable PSLOD Helps Members Honor True Selves

Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert has raised and donated over $250,000.000 for HIV services and health equity in the Coachella Valley in its almost 30-year history. The organization is honoring more diversity within the LGBTQ population here, and Dan Smith, co-chair of Leather Pride Weekend, is ready.

“We’re really looking forward to re-inventing the club, including making it a place for everyone,” Dan says.

More inclusion for PSLOD means welcoming more people of color, more women, and more transgender folks as new members. It also means challenging longstanding assumptions about what it means to be “leather”.

According to Dan, if it isn’t about pursuing your own authenticity, it’s time to challenge your perception.

“There’s this idea that a leather person has to be male, macho, hairy, have a beard, and be gruff—the whole hyper masculine image,” he says.

The truth is that there is room for everyone, no matter what they look like, he says.

“I just want people to be who they are, and we all struggle with that.”

PSLOD is experiencing a surge itself with 12 new members joining in the last two months and counting.

“I don’t want anyone prevented from exploring the leather community,” Dan says. One of his trusted methods for helping first timers feel OK exploring new things is simple; be friendly. 

“I would rather step up our hospitality, rather than have someone come to an event and experience no one talking to them,” Dan says. “People are starving for some type of connection.”

Find out more about Palm Spring Leather Order of the Desert (PSLOD) and Palm Springs Leather Pride Weekend [October 28-31, 2021] here.

About Revivals

The very first Revivals store was opened in 1995, in a back corner of the Desert AIDS Project office on Vella Road. Since those earliest days, the funds raised through selling donated goods at Revivals has gone back to support comprehensive care at DAP Health, while also providing a great volunteer opportunity for those who wanted to support the organization with their time and retail talents. Today, all of the stores are largely volunteer-run, enabling Revivals to make a significant financial contribution to the annual budget of DAP Health.

About DAP Health

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 10,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. 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.  Click here to read more about our commitment to health equity.     

DAP opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP is also working to address 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’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.     

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.     

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition Secur …

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition Secures Funding for Special Needs Housing Development on DAP Health Campus

October  6, 2021 (Indio, CA) – The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) in partnership with  DAP Health, announced today the successful award of $10,809,380 in federal tax credits and $8,107,033 in State tax credits from the California Debit Limit Allocation Committee and the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. The successful award of financing is needed to begin construction of the 61-unit special needs affordable housing development known as Vista Sunrise II.  The Vista Sunrise II development will be constructed on the DAP Health campus at Sunrise and Vista Chino in Palm Springs.  This new development consists of studios and one-bedroom units for individuals and families who experience chronical illnesses, physical or mental disabilities, or those who are homeless.

The award comes just weeks after the announcement by the Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health (RUHS-BH) that the development would be awarded $6,769,577 in No Place Like Home Funds (NPLH). One million dollars of this award was allocated directly through the NPLH Riverside County allocation for RUHS-BH, the remaining funds were awarded through a competitive state application where the project was one of the highest scoring applications in this funding round. In late June, the Federal Home Loan Bank announced that the project was awarded $900,000 in Affordable Housing Program funds. Earlier this year the City of Palm Springs committed $3,600,000 in Housing Homeless Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funds along with a 100% reduction in development impact fees. 

Vista Sunrise II was also awarded 35 project-based section 8 vouchers from the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside; the award of these vouchers will allow individuals who might otherwise not have any resources to pay rent, even at rates which are lower than fair market rents, to obtain an apartment. The Vista Sunrise II development will cost just over $30M to construct and would not be possible without the collaboration of numerous funding sources and the partnerships of CVHC and DAP.

The City of Palm Springs is making major efforts to address the housing crisis as well as the mental and physical health disparities that are often linked to inadequate housing. Partnerships with the CVHC (the largest provider of affordable housing in the Inland Empire) and DAP Health (a premier Federal Qualified Health Center serving over 10,000 patients annually) are perfect as it relates to reducing homelessness and increasing decent and safe housing. Residents of the development will live only steps away from many of the critical services they need on the campus of DAP Health. In conjunction with RUHS-BH, DAP will provide wrap-around supportive services for residents and their families.

This project benefits the community in multiple ways beyond providing affordable housing. It also:

  • Brings jobs to the community: the project provides prevailing wage construction jobs to locals
  • Energy Efficient: This community also meets energy standards through the Energy Star Program, Build It® Green—Green Point Rated Program and Green Property Management. It will also offer the same energy-efficient standards through its refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves/ovens, and other appliances.
  • Outdoor recreation: A dog park and green space which will offer seating for Vista Sunrise II residents, Vista Sunrise I residents, and DAP Health staff and visitors will be constructed as part of the development.
  • Computer Center: All residents will have access to the computer center located in the community room.
  • Demonstration Kitchen: Residents will learn to prepare healthy meals through free classes and workshops offered at the demonstration kitchen located within the community room.

 “For our community to achieve health equity, affordable housing must be a part of the healthcare continuum.  Partnering with CVHC allows us to strengthen the housing stability safety net for residents in Palm Springs.  We are fortunate to have a strong and like-minded partner in CVHC,” says David Brinkman, CEO of DAP Health.  

“It takes a village to be able to build high quality affordable housing development for a well-deserved special needs population.  CVHC is extremely grateful to all the funding agencies that are financially supporting this much needed development in the city of Palm Springs.  Thank you to DAP Health for choosing to partner with CVHC to develop this much needed affordable housing project and to provide supportive services to the residents. We look forward to begin construction of this development in the coming months” says Pedro S. G. Rodriguez, Interim Executive Director of CVHC.

####

Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) is a nonprofit community development corporation serving farmworkers, veterans, families, seniors, and other low-income residents.  Founded in 1982, CVHC's mission is to improve low-income individuals and families' living conditions by constructing and operating affordable housing infused with community services programs and other opportunities that enrich, build, and grow their lives. 

For more than 39 years, CVHC has been providing affordable housing and community development programs to hundreds of individuals and families.  To date, CVHC has developed close to 5,000 homes and apartments throughout Riverside and Imperial counties. In addition, CVHC provides its residents access to a variety of programs, including early childhood education centers, after-school and recreational programming, medical clinics, cultural music, art and dance classes, computer technology instruction, STEM-blended Lego Robotics, an Alternative High School and GED Diploma program, Financial Literacy, English as a Second Language courses, homeownership counseling and other opportunities that improve their lives and livelihoods.  For more information, please visit www.cvhc.org.

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over  10,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. 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 opened one of California’s first COVID clinics and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP is also working to address 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’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.  

Transgender Night of Empowerment Strengt …

Transgender Night of Empowerment Strengthened Community Bonds

By Leighton Ginn

The Transgender Night of Empowerment held Sept. 13 at Oscar’s in Downtown Palm Springs was a night defined by enlightening conversation and community connection.  

Organized with TransPower Project and Oscar’s Palm Springs,  the night featured three charismatic panelists who shared their stories of going from abandonment into empowerment by finding loving and supporting communities that accept them.

Jazzmun Nichcala Crayton said she hopes events like the Transgender Night of Empowerment will help facilitate discussions and education. 

Crayton, who says her pronoun is “gender fierce,” hopes that the conversations lead to greater acceptance. She says, “I’ve seen change with my own eyes,” 

Crayton was part of the three-person panel that discussed challenges faced by transgender individuals.

Jacob Rostovsky, the CEO and founder of the TransPower Project, said he was humiliated while he was in urgent care for an ear issue. Upon reading he was transgender, they began asking about his genitals.

“I was so shamed because that was all he could see of me,” Rostovsky said. “Many feel vulnerable because providers don’t see us.

“Aren’t they all supposed to do no harm?”  

Rostovsky left urgent care without treatment, resulting in a worsening ear infection. He canceled other appointments because he feared how he would be treated.  

But Rostovsky said his life has changed for the better. He’s engaged with plans to be married soon.

“When I was younger, I thought I would be dead before I was 15, 16. I never thought anyone in my entire life would love me in a romantic way. I never thought I would find love or be valued, especially as a gay man,” said Rostoveky, who shared the news of his engagement.  “I felt true love so I’m getting married. I continue to celebrate my authenticity as a Trans gay male every single day that I wake up and every single day I go to sleep because he’s there to remind me.”

Fernanda Quiroz, a patient at DAP Health, said when she came out, she was abandoned by her family, members who said they would stick by her through anything.

But thanks to DAP Health, and particularly moderator Michael Malfavon, she feels like she’s home when she goes into the clinic.

Explaining the importance of collaboration, Rostovsky said is grateful to DAP Health for partnering with TransPower Project on events that bring the transgender community together.

“Having community is immensely important,” Rostovsky said. “We’re a new organization and it means a lot to us when a big organization like DAP Health welcomes us with open arms.

The 2021 Desert AIDS Walk returns to Ruth Hardy Park!

Our community’s largest gathering of HIV advocates comes together on Saturday, October 30, 2021, to walk toward ending the HIV and AIDS epidemics in the Coachella Valley. The 2021 Desert AIDS Walk, presented by Desert Care Network, will be an in-person event beginning at Ruth Hardy Park and following a route through downtown Palm Springs. This family and pet-friendly event includes a Health and Wellness Festival presented by Walgreens. Register today at www.desertaidswalk.org.

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.     

 

Honoring Black History with Health Acces …

Honoring Black History with Health Access 

 

As we pay tribute to generations of Black Americans who struggled for a place at the table in American society, we must call attention to serious health inequities threatening them today around COVID.  

According to the CDC, only five percent of all COVID vaccines so far have gone to Black Americans, who continue to suffer from unacceptable gaps in healthcare access in the U.S.  

DAP Health’s vaccine framework is rooted in health equity, ensuring communities and populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19 have priority access to the vaccine. Outreach to our patients age 65 and over has already begun.  

In 2021, we are increasing opportunities for health in Black neighborhoods with enhanced mobile services that offer linkage to ongoing medical care, vital during this pandemic.  

“COVID has pushed us to do even more to reach people living in minority neighborhoods,” said David Brinkman, CEO.  “so that African Americans know DAP is a committed BLM partner and here to help.” 

We welcomed a specialized nurse to assist the mobile team, and we added Virtual Visit technology to our Mobile Testing Van so DAP Health doctors can beam in during visits when helpful.  

Accessing care and services will be easier in 2021 because we are offering case management (traditionally reserved for our HIV-positive clients) to a broader segment of the community who may be needing help getting into care. 

We are also providing smartphones and WiFi access to clients unable to afford them so that telehealth visits can continue and grow. 

“Increasing health services via our mobile unit for patients in Black neighborhoods will help anyone who may be fearing racism or stigma from traditional healthcare,” said C.J. Tobe, Community Health director. “Our clinics are welcoming, but DAP Health is also willing to meet people where they are at, especially during this pandemic.” 

DAP Health's holistic model aims to address social determinants that lead to negative health outcomes, especially those related to the pandemic — this includes food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation and access to health care.  

Read more about DAP Health, plus its expanding role in public health and health equity here.  

To become a patient, click here. 

About DAP Health  

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. 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 opened one of California’s first COVID clinic and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP is also working to address 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’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.      

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

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