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

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

DAP Focused on Equal Access to Lifesavin …

DAP Focused on Equal Access to Lifesaving Information During Pandemic 

(Palm Springs, CA) August 12, 2020 -- More than ever, people need information to make the best choices for their health, and DAP has launched two new resources on its website aimed at keeping our community informed in a timely manner.  

“The pandemic proves that access to healthcare and information has not been equal in every community,” said DAP CEO David Brinkman. “And that inequality is driving poor health outcomes for people of color and people living in poverty.”

Created by DAP subject matter experts, these resources provide need-to-know information for anyone interested in the services DAP is known for, as well as anyone looking for resources to report about DAP or Revivals Stores for news stories. Materials are offered in English and en Español. 

DAP is making information about its life sustaining services more available than ever by bringing our collection of patient literature onto our website with our new Community Health Resources page.  

Each piece of literature can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF to save or share.  And if you’re a member of the media looking for story resources like B-roll, stock photos, plus a lot more, our new online DAP Media Kit has many of the elements needed to tell new stories about DAP or Revivals Stores. 

We Support Vigorous Storytelling 

About DAP Online Media Kit 

The DAP Media Kit is your one stop resource if you are a member of the press working on a story about DAP or Revivals Stores.  

In addition to media contact information, the kit offers: 

  • help with your newsgathering efforts
  • information on setting up an interview
  • DAP and Revivals Stores logos, images, and video for your story
  • social media channels

What the Community Health Resource Page Provides 

Topics include a COVID-19, HIV, STIs, Transgender Health, HCV and more. They include: 

COVID-19 Resource Guide 

Thriving with HIV: 

  • Living with HIV
  • HIV After Diagnosis

Preventing new cases: 

  • HIV Prevention
  • PrEP
  • PEP

Transgender Healthcare 

  • Safer Tucking
  • Safe Binding 
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Hepatitis C 

Sexual Health 

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis

Youth Resource Guide 

DAP has learned a lot in 36 years of providing healthcare to the Coachella Valley, with an emphasis on helping people with HIV thrive, and ending new transmissions in our community. We invite you to use and share the resources on these pages. If you would like more information on any health topic, please call to speak to a specialist at 760-323-2118

About Desert AIDS Project 

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency. 

Visit www.desertaidsproject.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

DAP Docs: HIV Won’t Stop COVID-19 Vacc …

Dr Tulika Singh

DAP Docs: HIV Won’t Stop COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Participation 

Media Contact:
Jack Bunting
(760) 323-2118
jbunting@desertaidsproject.org

PLWH are commonly overlooked as subjects in pharmaceutical studies and vaccine research, so our doctors practice extra caution when choosing medicines for patients. But when they learned that PLWH were being left out of two COVID-19 vaccine trials, they mobilized.

Thanks to our team joining forces with other LGBTQ and HIV advocates, biotech companies have reversed their policies. In a study protocol change, people living with stable HIV will now be included in the trials.

Reasons for excluding this group include assuming that PLWH are weakened physically, but after more than a decade of providing HIV care, Dr. Singh knows this to be a generalization. Today, people on antiretroviral medications have strong immune systems, thanks to viral suppression. They are suitable candidates for these studies.

According to Dr. Singh, there is a risk when PLWH are not included in these studies.

“This is a disservice to them, as what works for non-positive people might not work in PLWH,” she said. “But we wouldn’t know until it fails or is unsafe in this population, and it’s too late by then.”

Without having PLWH represented in COVID-19 vaccine trials, we won’t have an accurate picture of how PLWH will respond to the intervention in the real world, according to Dr. Singh.

It’s important to know, because despite the miracle of modern ART, doctors still monitor their patients for immune dysfunction, persistent inflammation, and evolving host microbiome issues caused by the HIV virus and medications.

Please click here to learn more about Research at DAP, including ANCHOR Study, which is resuming soon.

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

Continuing The Care We Are Known For

Continuing The Care We Are Known For

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, August 8, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

People With HIV Need Unique Care During COVID-19

People living with HIV, and especially anyone aging with HIV, need options that keep them continuously in care in spite of COVID. Since the beginning of DAP, our doctors have shared their experience with providers everywhere on best practices for providing excellent HIV care for their patients. When doctors help each other learn, patients always come out on top.

Dr. Jill Gover continued this on a panel by HealthHIV that examined managing HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explored the impact of mental and sexual health on HIV care, based on decades of experience and feedback from the Behavioral Health Department at DAP. You can find out more here.

DAP In The News

Staying On Top Of Sexual Health

C.J. Tobe and his team’s work to tackle the current STI and HIV surges were featured in an article in The Standard. The story also explains the dangerous syndemic nature among HIV, STIs, and HCV, and the work being done by End The Epidemics to keep Californians safer. You can read more here.

Born to Be Film Screening

We know our transgender siblings face unimaginable alienation in healthcare settings, and a recent study from UC Riverside researchers in the School of Medicine backs that up.  Only 15% of individuals reported it was easy to find a provider with sufficient knowledge and experience on issues related to transgender people. That isn’t the case at DAP, and we’re committed to fighting this stigma by sharing stories of transgender people as they navigate their journeys of transformation.

We’re partnering with the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care - Greater Palm Springs to host a free virtual screening of Born To Be on August 13. It’s a documentary that follows the trans and gender non-conforming individuals who are changing their lives at the groundbreaking  Mount Sinai Hospital. Learn more and RSVP at https://bit.ly/BORNTOBE #BornToBeFilm

Greater Kansas City or Coachella Valley, …

Greater Kansas City or Coachella Valley, Dr. Foltz lives to heal his community

For the Coachella Valley, it is a good thing that Dr. Christopher Foltz was on staff at Desert AIDS Project as the COVID-19 health crisis unfolded.

Already an integral member of the Infectious Disease team since 2017, he conceived the idea for a COVID-19 Triage Clinic at DAP and inspired a team of healthcare professionals to launch it successfully with him. He also managed validation testing for the antibody test, an important step to establish reliability, as clinicians everywhere grapple with unproven testing products. 

As the crisis unfolds, he continues to innovate with his team to serve more people with options like drive-up services and asymptomatic testing. Within a few weeks of opening, the COVID-19 Triage Clinic had already saved lives, alleviated pressure on local emergency rooms, and helped calm frazzled nerves among patients.

But the physician credited with spearheading the operation started building his skillset long beforehand in Kansas City, heavily influenced by its community values and its learning institutions. It would require spending five years in L.A. first, but Dr. Foltz has come to find that he sees Kansas City emulated the most here in the Coachella Valley. He’s pleased with that. 

Surprisingly similar: the Coachella Valley and Kansas City

For all of their geographical differences, Kansas City and the Coachella Valley are a lot alike if you are living in poverty, cut off from medical and behavioral healthcare, or other life essentials. Much of the populations live farther away from the city centers where services are offered. Issues like poor transportation, inadequate childcare, and problems with phone and internet access create unique barriers to access.

Many of the social determinants affecting both populations also remain the same. Higher instances of substance abuse and mental health issues create areas of need that are not commonly addressed in the traditional healthcare system. And a high population of undocumented and legal immigrants struggle to access services amid language and cultural barriers.

One of the silver linings no matter where he practices, according to Dr. Foltz, is the gratitude that most patients express when they receive competent medical care, some for the first time in their lives.

Feels like Kansas City right here in the Coachella Valley

Another similarity between Kansas City and the Coachella Valley is the feeling of a tight knit community, even though people are spread out.

“One of the things I attribute most to being from the Midwest is the sense of community and caring that was always around,” he said. “This is something I now feel very similarly in Palm Springs.”

After a three-year internal medicine residency at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center and a two-year infectious disease fellowship at UCLA, although thankful, Dr. Foltz felt anonymous in the second largest city in the U.S.

“In L.A., there was a sense of being a small fish in a big pond,” said Dr. Foltz. “In the Midwest it always seemed the opposite.”

“As a resident of Kansas City and a supporter of Desert AIDS Project, I am proud that a young doctor from KUMC is leading Palm Springs’ COVID-19 response at DAP,” said humanitarian and philanthropist Annette Bloch. “Kansas City and the Coachella Valley share a lot in common, most importantly people who care about one another.”

Dr. Foltz was made for this crisis—roots sprouted at JayDoc Free Clinic

Before he would go on to complete his Internal Medicine residency at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, and then an infectious disease fellowship at UCLA, his work ethic and skillset had been melded with the values of Midwest America—hard work, mixed with caring for your community.

Dr. Foltz knew his passion was serving those struggling with poverty, and he was able to hone his skillset at the JayDoc Free Clinic, located at the University of Kansas in Kansas City. Serving about 1,000 patients annually since its launch in 2003, it provides urgent and primary care to the underserved and uninsured populations of Greater Kansas City.

By the time he arrived on the West Coast, Dr. Foltz was already groomed to lead a clinic—not just the nuts-and-bolts operations, but as a strategic leader. He started at JayDoc as Assistant Director of Research and then served as an Executive Director. He went on to serve on its Board of Directors during his time in medical school at the University of Kansas. 

According to him, Dr. Foltz gravitated to the field of Microbiology early in his college career, fascinated that such simple things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses could create such havoc on civilizations. As time went on, that fascination shifted to how the study of these simple organisms could lead to antibiotics and vaccines.

“That’s when I knew Infectious disease was going to be my specialty, because I could see in real time how this knowledge could make a difference,” he said.

JayDoc Free Clinic is completely Medical student managed and operated, and that’s no small fete. The leadership team were responsible for everything: grant writing, finances, administration, volunteers, and operations.

“It was truly rewarding, and that experience really cemented my desire to work on behalf of the underserved community.”

Dr. Foltz built his career excelling at direct patient care, but his practical experience at JayDoc gave him the unique skillset to conceive of DAP’s COVID-19 Triage Clinic, and then to oversee its opening and manage its current functioning. Combined with his clinical knowledge as a board-certified Infectious Disease physician, he is making a measurable difference in the lives of his patients, as well as his staff and the community.

And true to his Midwest roots, sharing credit with others comes naturally to him.

“I am just one member of an incredible team of clinical, administrative, and operational staff.”

Dr. Foltz himself is no stranger to gratitude.

“More than ever I am incredibly thankful for that background,” he said. “I am using all these skills in real-time as we study characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 disease, Coronavirus testing, and potential therapeutics and prevention methods.”

A certain humanitarian is also part of that background.

When JayDoc Free Clinic would close down for the day, Dr. Foltz and his colleagues were permitted to see patients in the evenings at a very special community clinic, thanks to the generosity of its founder and lead physician, Dr. Sharon Lee.

“I got to work very close with her the two years I served administrative positions at JayDoc,” Dr. Foltz said. “Her work ethic and passion for her mission and community is something I still to this day try to aspire to.”

Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care was founded in 1989 by Dr. Sharon Lee to help alleviate suffering for people coping with HIV and AIDS. Just as with DAP, the great care provided became a staple in that community for everyone, and the clinic became a Federally Qualified Health Center.

“She was truly remarkable and one of the hardest working women in medicine I have ever met,”
 Dr. Foltz said. “She would do anything to help us at the drop of a hat.”

Recently the FQHC was renamed Sharon Lee Family Health Care, in honor of its founder.

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

Sexual Health Clinic - Palm Springs

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM (Closed for lunch from noon-1:00 PM)

Call 760-992-0492 to schedule an appointment.

To reach our after-hours answering service, please call (760) 323-2118.

Looking Out For Each Other

Looking Out For Each Other

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, July 3 From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

Will your weekend plans expose you to COVID-19?

Our COVID-19 Triage Clinic has now provided care to more than 2,000 people seeking testing and medical support for their symptoms.

The team has noticed people testing positive are younger on average than when this crisis began. It’s a national trend, and we must keep reminding each other about our mutual obligation to take this health threat very seriously.

As he addressed his co-workers, our Director of Community Health, C.J. Tobe, shared his painful news that within a 24-hour period, he lost several friends under 40 to COVID-19 this week.

He urged his colleagues to consider: “Will my weekend plans expose me to COVID-19?”

One-in-two COVID-19 patients have no idea who exposed them or when they contracted the virus in the two weeks leading up to symptoms. According to our team, this illustrates the danger from asymptomatic transmission and community spread.  We can guard against this with strong adherence to wearing face coverings, social distancing, and extra hand washing. For CDC guidance click here.

Currently, Riverside County is second in California for new COVID-19 cases. As we celebrate our nation’s independence on this long weekend, we beg you to ask yourself, “Will my weekend plans expose me to COVID-19?” If the answer is “yes,” please consider changing them to protect yourself and others.

We all have to be aware of new health restrictions in California this week; bars and restaurants must halt indoor service to customers. This also applies to sectors including wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums and card rooms. These orders are expected to be in effect for at least three weeks. Read more here.

If you or anyone you know needs information on COVID-19 testing, please call us (760) 992-0407 to talk to an expert.

Study Examines How PLWHA Are Coping In New Normal

HARP-PS and the University of Southern California are conducting a study to find out how people living with HIV over 50 in our community are getting through this current health crisis. Many of our patients lived through the worst years of the AIDS crisis, and they report experiencing post-traumatic stress, as well as very real barriers accessing care and life sustaining services currently. Data collected will be used by healthcare providers to make care and access better for our HIV positive in the Coachella Valley.

Call (760) 408-6267 for more information.

Invest in PLWHA to Prevent New HIV Transmissions

We’ve shared the second in a series of four Q&A posts capturing Prevention Access Campaign founder Bruce Richman’s perspectives on our movement to end HIV stigma with U=U.

In this post Bruce talks about how keeping PLWHA in healthcare and connected to services yields a much broader benefit to the greater public health, and how stigma still gets in the way of people getting tested. Read more here.

Preventionaccess.org has a lot of information, including social shares that allies can use. It has tips about the language that we should all be educating ourselves about. 

Thanking Direct Relief for Covid-19 Relief Funding

We want to thank Direct Relief, in partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers, for their grant funding of $50,000 to help sustain our COVID-19 Triage Clinic. This support helps us provide consultation, COVID-19 testing, and respiratory treatments to people in our community. By providing this service, DAP is taking pressure off of our overwhelmed emergency rooms and ICUs as the surge continues. Read more here.

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

Sexual Health Clinic - Palm Springs

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM (Closed for lunch from noon-1:00 PM)

Call 760-992-0492 to schedule an appointment.

To reach our after-hours answering service, please call (760) 323-2118.

Invest In The Wellbeing of PLWHA To Prev …

Invest In The Wellbeing of PLWHA To Prevent New Transmissions

This is the second in a series of four Q&A posts capturing founder Bruce Richman’s perspectives on our movement to end HIV stigma with U=U, Prevention Access Campaign, and all of us. Recently he talked with us on DAP LIVE.

Question

We don’t talk enough about how stigma can prevent us from getting HIV testing.

If someone who’s HIV positive can access medication, they can live a very long life. But if they don't know that they have HIV and they don't access medication, there can be all kinds of complications.

Tell me about U=U’s role in ending the epidemic. Because if we don't know our status, and if we don't have access to the medication we need, we're not going to end the HIV epidemic. Also, why is stigma still so prevalent?

Answer

Initially I didn't understand that U=U had a role in ending the epidemic in terms of preventing new transmissions. I always really focused on improving the lives of people with HIV and ending the stigma that we have faced for so long. But in terms of ending the epidemic, U=U is essential. Dr. Fauci says, “U=U is the foundation of being able to end the epidemic,” because the more people who are on treatment and undetectable, the fewer new transmissions there'll be.

So in the United States, when you realize half of the people living with HIV are not on treatment and not in care, and they're not getting the treatment and care or the services, they need to stay healthy.

They're also not getting those services that they need to stay un-transmittable. So if we really want to end the epidemic and save lives, we're going to make sure that we invest in the wellbeing of people living with HIV, so they can stay healthy and prevent new transmissions. We need to link investing in the wellbeing of people living with HIV to ending the epidemic. Because when you invest in the wellbeing of people with HIV, you prevent new transmissions. And that's a big deal.

HIV stigma is intertwined with all kinds of stigma. There's sex negativity, homophobia, transphobia, stigma against people who inject drugs and sex workers. And that deep-seated negativity against all kinds of STIs. HIV stigma is particularly embedded in this country because of the last 35 years of mass fear-based messages. And what we remember since the early days of the 1980s.

It’s something that is really hard to unlearn decades of fear of HIV and people living with HIV. It'll take a long time. That's why we have to keep saying it— “U=U.”

People living with HIV cannot pass it on if you make sure that all of us have the treatment and the care that we need to stay healthy. We're not going to pass on HIV. There's no fear. You can have sex,  babies, love—all with no risk.

Question:

When you started this, did you think it would become a global human rights movement?

Answer:

We launched U=U four years ago. No, I didn't think it was going to be like this. I've always been really behind the scenes with my work in the past. I just knew this had to be done. We had targets, we had the CDC, we had UN AIDS, World Health Organization, public health associations, and research associations.

We were very focused in terms of who we needed to move forward and our advocacy. And we had numbers, I think at the end of the first year, we're going to have 75 in the U.S. and we had already had 200 at that point.

This just goes to show the power, the passion and the brilliance of people living with HIV around the world who are standing up to change the narrative about their bodies. And to reclaim our lives from public health systems that are deeply, inherently flawed, racist and paternalist—all those “isms” that prevented this life changing information from getting to us all those years.

It's almost a thousand organizations in 101 countries. Now it's just, it's phenomenal. And so many different languages.

Preventionaccess.org has a lot of information, including social shares that allies can use. It's got tips about the language that we should all be educating ourselves about. It’s science-based, and values fact over fear.

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

Sexual Health Clinic - Palm Springs

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM (Closed for lunch from noon-1:00 PM)

Call 760-992-0492 to schedule an appointment.

To reach our after-hours answering service, please call (760) 323-2118.

DAP Celebrates Juneteenth

DAP Celebrates Juneteenth

Friday is Juneteenth, the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Desert AIDS Project continues to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the peaceful protests which continue to energize the movement around the world.

"Juneteenth is an opportunity to commemorate the contributions of Black individuals who have inspired, guided, and driven our work at DAP, but also to recommit to our mission of ensuring everyone has access to healthcare information, testing, and treatment," said Desert AIDS Project CEO David Brinkman.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in healthcare access in the United States. CDC data shows that the death rates among Black people are much higher than for white people, in all age categories.

According to CDC data, Black Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities. In 2018, Black Americans accounted for 13% of the US population, but 42% of the 37,832 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.

On Friday, digital marquee signs at DAP on the corner of Sunrise and Vista Chino, and at Revivals Cathedral City store located on Hwy 111, will recognize the day by displaying the emancipation flag.

Additionally, DAP will be using its social media platforms to educate its followers about the meaning of Juneteeth as we continue our work to end systemic poverty via nutrition, housing, and police safety.

Revivals Stores will be encouraging its shoppers to explore the rich variety of Black-owned businesses in Greater Palm Springs. https://www.pslocalsonly.com/

Further, to engage our employees, there will be a special all-staff virtual gathering on Friday to reflect upon and discuss the importance of Juneteenth’s historic and current significance.

Yesterday, DAP joined Human Rights Campaign and 350 LGBTQ organizations united in calling for transformational change in policing. The letter reads in part, "We cannot sit on the sidelines, we cannot acquiesce, and we cannot assign responsibility to others. We, as leaders in the LGBTQ movement, must rise up and call for structural change…” You can read the full letter here.

And, most importantly, DAP continues to listen to persons of color in the community in which we serve to learn how DAP can become a stronger ally and co-worker in the movement to end racism.

Standing with Black Lives Matter

Standing with Black Lives Matter

Weekend Wrap Message-Saturday, June 6, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

As an acknowledgment of the protests that are occurring globally and in our Valley, we postponed our Voices of Hope: Together We Thrive streaming event.

The fight against AIDS has always been a fight against discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry. DAP stands in solidarity with black communities locally, nationally and around the world, including Black Lives Matter.

As a member of DAP, I have no doubt that you're aware of the racial and financial injustices that plague our community and our nation. Like me, you may be asking yourself, “How can I help end racism?” All human beings deserve equal opportunities and to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion.

DAP stands for quality and culturally competent care as a human right and as a critical component to building a fair and just society. The COVID-19 pandemic brings the impact of systemic racism front and center, and DAP recommits to addressing barriers that prevent individuals and communities from reaching their full potential.

This Weekend Wrap for March 28th feature …

DAP Logo Weekend Wrap

This Weekend Wrap for March 28th features updates from Desert AIDS Project’s Chief Executive Officer, David Brinkman

We are living in unprecedented times. It’s been two weeks since DAP opened its COVID-19 Triage clinic and put out the first call for community support to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time, we've seen over 90 patients in the urgent clinic, screening and treating each one, and testing only those who were sickest.

All week long, we've been sharing updates on our website, Facebook and Instagram pages but in case you missed it, here are some of our top stories.

Clinical & Programming Updates

  • DAP launched Tele-Health services for patients and clients who are not able to come to our campus for care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Monday, patients can access their medical, psychotherapy, and psychiatry healthcare through their smartphones, iPads, or desktop computers.
  • DAP is still welcoming new clients during the COVID-19 health crisis. Services available include:
    • Primary Care

    • Specialty Care for HIV and Hep C

    • Behavioral Healthcare

    • Sexual Health at The DOCK

    • Social Services like case management, food assistance, transportation, housing and home care.

    • COVID-19 Triage Clinic

  • The DOCK, temporarily housed in DAP’s Green Clinic, continued to see patients who have questions about their sexual health, testing for STI's and HIV while our PrEP navigators continued to work with those who want access to the prevention technique.
  • DAP's Social Service and Community Health teams launched home delivery of essential supplies, including food for our most vulnerable home-bound clients ensuring they don't need to leave their home to go to the grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • DAP created a series of Spanish language videos and blog content to ensure everyone has access to the same life-saving information.
  • DAP's Client Wellness team launched a series of ZOOM meetings to connect clients in recovery to the groups that met at DAP before the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yoga sessions and guest speakers will roll-out next week.
  • DAP has had to re-adjust its operations in the wake of COVID-19. It has meant:
    • Making Telemedicine available to our clients through our MyChart client portal, which will enable them to continue in care if they are required to stay at home.

    • Suspending non-urgent dental appointments at our Dental Clinic, in accordance with the American Dental Association recommended guidelines.

    • Halting housecleaning, cooking and laundry for our Home Health clients, after the California Department of Public Health and other regulatory organizations issued strict guidelines protecting workers.

DAP in the News

Community Updates

Through email and phone calls, we’ve continued to share with you updates from the frontline of our clinical work, having tested our first positive cases and the stories from grateful patients. In response to all of these, nearly 300 of you have answered our call. THANK YOU!  We could not be more grateful. With $300,000 raised we have $1,150,000 left to raise.

Through these calls for your support, I have also received responses of concern asking, “why such a financial emergency?” And “How could a healthcare organization lay off staff in the middle of an emergency?”.

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DAP was forced to close our three Revivals stores and our Dental Clinic foregoing the revenue from each.

  • We've had to cancel our Dining Out for Life fundraiser which raised $360,000, last year alone.

  • With many of our patients being in a high-risk group due to their age, our paid clinical visits and behavioral health clinic visits are down as well.

  • We responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by opening a Triage Clinic to screen, test, and treat respiratory illness.

  • Altogether, we anticipate revenue losses from now through June 30, 2020, of $2.5 million. Hence, we took swift action to stabilize the organization financially so that our core work of serving the 7,000 community members who call DAP their healthcare home remains uninterrupted during and after this crisis is over.

Be assured, our frontline clinical teams remain intact to provide daily care as well as COVID-19 triage services.

If you questions about COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 FAQ's for information in both English and Spanish. If you believe you might be symptomatic or need information about testing, please call our COVID-19 hotline at (760) 992-0407.

David Brinkman
Chief Executive Officer

For growing STI crisis, HIV, HCV and Pov …

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

At a time when the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports a 30 year high in STIs in California —particularly syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia—Desert AIDS Project (DAP) affirms that in addition to HIV and HCV, these are among the most serious public health issues facing Californians today.

DAP is in a unique position to apply the lessons it has learned over 35 years in HIV prevention, testing and treatment. With the increasing prevalence of Californians suffering from two or more of these infections simultaneously, we must no longer approach HIV, HCV, and STIs as if they belong in separate silos. Nor can we continue to overlook the roles that poverty and social isolation play in this crisis.

To end these epidemics, Californians need:    
   • Routinized education, testing and treatment for all five infections: HIV, HCV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.       
   • Access to ongoing medical and behavioral healthcare, and stable housing.
   • Community and wellness services for psychosocial support to avoid isolation and poor medical treatment adherence.

We represent our community’s voice in state and federal discussions, and constantly looking at new developments, models and funding sources to deploy new efforts in the Coachella Valley. Regardless of access to funding, our commitment to outreach through our community health department enables us to reach at-risk populations.

DAP is also part of End The Epidemics, a statewide working group of approximately 160 public health and community organizations urging Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to empower key stakeholders as soon as possible to fund and implement California’s strategy to end the HIV, HCV, and STI epidemics.

“Funding is essential to fight the spread of newly acquired STIs in California, but it will not fix the entire problem,” said Carl Baker, director of legal and legislative affairs at DAP. “To test and link people to care, we have to meet them where they are; not where we wish they were.”

DAP staff provide testing and education in jails, prisons, drug rehabilitation centers and where our homeless neighbors live.

It also links clients to Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) as key strategies to decrease new infections. We know that regular STI testing that is part of the PrEP protocol identifies people who are infected with STIs who would not have been tested otherwise. 

In the Coachella Valley, and Palm Springs in particular, STIs are historically higher than the rest of the county, and have been rising steadily. Higher poverty rates than in the rest of California, plus a thriving tourism industry create an atmosphere for STIs to spread.

In 2018, Riverside County reported syphilis cases ran about 12 per 100,000 people. In the Coachella Valley: 32 cases per 100,000.

The numbers sharply increase in Palm Springs, with over 100 cases per 100,000, and especially North Palm Springs, with 185 cases per 100,000 people. (Riverside University Health System)

To address this trend, in May 2018 DAP lowered the price for testing and treatment for STIs to just $25, and no charge in extreme cases of lack of funds. Access to these services at other organizations in the Coachella Valley cost about seven-to-ten times as much, and prevents many from accessing testing and treatment.

Currently we are noticing about 30 additional clients per week at The DOCK for STI testing and treatment.

“Who knows how many of our clients would wait longer to get screening and treatment if they had to pay as much as ten times what The DOCK charges?” said C.J. Tobe, interim director of community health. “If our clients test positive, we can get them on treatment which is vital to stop the epidemics, and we can even go further, offering them ongoing primary medical and behavioral healthcare and other services.”

DAP knows from experience, and the CDC agrees, that our clients experience better health outcomes when they can access stable housing, and when they receive support to fight drug abuse, poverty, and stigma.

Besides accessing primary and behavioral healthcare, nutritious food and fighting isolation by connecting to other humans is also essential. Wellness services like yoga and chiropractic, and re-entering the workforce have shown to be essential to our clients as they rebound from an array of health challenges.

What Is A Syndemic?

Together, HIV, HCV and STIs create a syndemic—a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes.

For example, having an STD increases the likelihood of acquiring HIV.  Among people who are living with HCV and HIV, HCV progresses faster and more than triples the risk for liver disease, liver failure, and liver related death. These epidemics are also driven by similar social and economic conditions and disproportionately impact many of the same disadvantaged communities.

About End The Epidemics

The California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers, together with HIV, viral hepatitis, and STD community-based organizations across California, have launched a community-driven effort to inform development of a statewide plan to end the HIV, HCV, and STD epidemics in California. What makes this initiative innovative and unique – in addition to community leadership – is its ambitious goal of addressing these health conditions as a syndemic – a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes. The syndemic approach differs from the biomedical approach in that it treats diseases concurrently and also addresses the social determinants of health that drive these epidemics. To learn more, visit: www.chprc.org/end-the-epidemics/

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services.  DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment for only $25 per visit, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit
www.desertaidsproject.org
www.thedockclinic.org
www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org
to learn more

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