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DAP Health News

Stay up to date on DAP events and programs as well as healthcare research and legislation impacting our mission.

DAP Health News

Stay up to date on DAP events and programs as well as healthcare research and legislation impacting our mission.

Reflecting on the legacy of Dr. Martin L …

Annually black Americans pause in February to reflect upon our shared cultural heritage as African-Americans. In large part, our reflections turn to the Civil Rights struggles in the 1960s, spearheaded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., among others. Sadly, for a growing sub-segment of the black (as well as Latinx) population in America, not only do we continue to battle against social-economic forces: poverty, unemployment, prejudice and an unbalanced justice system; we must face the reality that in minority communities, HIV is not on the decline like it is in the majority population.

Young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in minority communities are at the highest risk for HIV in the USA! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if current rates persist, half of all black; and a quarter of all Latino gay and bisexual men could be infected with HIV in their lifetimes.

On the one hand, Innovations in pharmaceutical science have given society the opportunity to “end the AIDS epidemic.” Be it daily medication, “meds” for people who are HIV-positive, which when taken on a daily basic effectively eliminate the potential of infecting another person and consequently ending the epidemic. Conjointly, on the other hand, HIV-negative individuals may avail themselves with Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill which practically eliminates seroconversion.

So where’s the problem you may ask? The answer is inexplicable. While the HIV infection rates continue to decrease for the majority population in the USA, the minority population continues to see increased HIV infections. Is this due to the stigma of men having sex with men in minority populations? Is it the lack of medical resources, and financial barriers to healthcare in minority populations? Or is it just ignorance of the medical advances available. Perhaps, the answer is a combination of all of the aforementioned.

What is certain is that behaviors have to change – both for the individual and society. Here in California, legislative leaders have finally shifted HIV focus to minority populations in an effort to increase awareness, testing and treatment.

The question becomes, what can we do to decrease the spread of HIV in minority populations?

  • • Increase public awareness of the disease in targeted minority populations and reduce the stigma. Black and Latino Americans have accepted the fact that they are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes; let’s treat HIV like any other “manageable disease.”
  • • In order to treat HIV, folks have to get tested. The State of California is increasing funding for HIV testing and many non-profit health care centers like Desert AIDS Project are going to community festivals with mobile testing; to wit, Black History Month Festival, Blatino Oasis, Taste of Jalisco Festival, to name just a few.
  • • If someone is diagnosed, they must immediately be linked to care. Both Federal and State funds are available to cover ALL expenses for people who live below the poverty level so cost is not an issue.
  • • Folks need to stay in care and on their medication. Once in care and property taking medication an HIV-positive person becomes un-infectious and will not transmit the HIV virus.

This is an attainable plan. What is missing is the public outcry and demand for social services to address not only the stigma attached to “gay sex,” but to address health care for ALL Americans. To borrow the words from Dr. King:

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.”

Carl Baker is Directory of Legal and Legislative Affairs for Desert AIDS Project. He is passionate about USC Trojans football and is an avid swimmer.

Call these Republican Senators today and …

The Senate tax bill cuts funding for domestic programs that could undermine the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, HIV prevention, and funding for housing for people living with HIV.
Given the fact that more than 40% of people living with HIV who are in care are covered by Medicaid, these cuts could have a negative impact on access to and quality of care for hundreds of thousands of Americans living with HIV. 

Call these Senators TODAY and tell them to stand firm for a bi-partisan tax reform measure that will not undermine U.S. health care programs.
·      Lisa Murkowski (R – AK): Click to call (202) 224-6665, @lisamurkowski 
·      Susan Collins (R – ME):  Click to call (202) 224-2523, @SenatorCollins
·      Bob Corker (R – TN): Click to call (202) 224-3344, @SenBobCorker
·      John McCain (R – AZ): Click to call (202) 224-2235, @SenJohnMcCain
·      Jeff Flake (R – AZ): Click to call (202) 224-4521, @JeffFlake
Sample script: Senator — I am calling because we need principled Republicans like you to vote NO on the Senate tax bill. The bill defies Republican principles by adding at least $1.5 trillion to the national deficit and undermines U.S. health care programs like the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and Medicare. The Republican Party can do better. Thank you for standing up for party principles.*

D.A.P. Receives Elton John AIDS Foundati …

Desert AIDS Project is the proud recipient of a $10,000 renewal grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to provide HIV testing in the Coachella Valley.

This renewal grant supports Desert AIDS Project’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign goal to reduce HIV transmission in high-risk, underserved populations by continuing to provide access to free testing and linkage to care. In addition, this grant will support implementation prevention strategies to increase community awareness of HIV, its risk factors and transmission modes; and help to provide comprehensive services to promote retention in care and adherence to treatment.

Desert AIDS Project launched Get Tested Coachella Valley with over 100 community partners in 2014 to combat shockingly high HIV prevalence rates in their service region. This renewal grant supports a scaled-up service profile for this program to reach an expanded pool of at-risk populations over the next year. HIV testing and counseling services will also include linkage to care.

HIV testing and linkage to care activities also raise awareness of and facilitate access to PrEP and PEP as HIV prevention measures for high-risk populations. The program’s Public Health Liaisons will include expanded HIV prevention education to include important strategies about these HIV prevention tools into ongoing presentations to healthcare professionals.

Desert AIDS Project’s (D.A.P.) mission is to enhance and promote the health and well-being of their community. D.A.P. is the largest, most comprehensive AIDS service organization serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties of Southern California. Over the past year, the D.A.P. provided primary medical care, behavioral healthcare, oral healthcare, and comprehensive social services to over 4,200 people of all races and ethnicities in 2016.


National HIV Call-In Day to Save Our Hea …

Yesterday, the Senate released its own version of the American Health Care Act. They are expected to vote on it as early as Tuesday, June 27. U.S. Senators must hear from the HIV community that gutting health care for millions of Americans, including folks living with and vulnerable to HIV, is unacceptable.

On Monday, June 26, we’re joining forces with AIDS Service Organizations around the country to tell our senators to #KilltheBill and #ProtectOurCare.

Here’s how you can help:

  • 1. Urge your colleagues, friends, relatives or anyone you can reach to call their senators using the HIV Hotline – (866) 246-9371 – for National Call-In Day on June 26th.
  • 2. When asked, provide your zip code.  You will be directed to key senators in your state.
  • 3. Tell the person who answers: your name; where you live; that you are a person with HIV or a person affected by HIV; that the American Health Care Act will cause people with HIV to lose health care coverage; and that you urge the senator to oppose the American Health Care Act.
  • Next Steps:

    Share your message on social media. Tweet at your senators, organize a phone bank, write an op-ed. Click here to download the full toolkit and social sharing images from Positive Women’s Network.

Join the fight to save health care for p …

Congress is rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as soon as President-Elect Donald Trump takes office. Congress does not have a replacement health care plan and there is no guarantee that millions of Americans will continue to have access to quality, affordable health care. Low-income people living with HIV and viral hepatitis are particularly at risk, as they rely on access to affordable insurance and medications to stay healthy.

Members of Congress, including some in California, have said that their constituents do not depend on the ACA for quality, affordable health insurance. We need your help to educate members of Congress and save the ACA!

This week is a national week of action for health care and we are asking you to do two things: Call your senators and representative. 

1. Call your senators and representative. You can find yours here. You can then call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and a switchboard operator will connect you directly with the congressional office you request.

Sample message: Do not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. It will cause millions of Americans to lose health care and create chaos in the U.S. health care system. [If you can, please share what health coverage means to you, your family, and your community.]

2. Families USA, one of our national partners, is mobilizing health care advocates and patients across the country to raise awareness about the dangers of repealing the ACA. Join their “Protect Our Care” thunderclap today, asking Congress to protect healthcare. Learn more here.

Thank you for taking action to protect health care access for millions of people across the country!

Yours in health,
David Brinkman
Desert AIDS Project