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DAP Health Begins Expanded Mobile Health …

Media Contact:

Jack Bunting
jbunting@daphealth.org
(760) 656-8472

DAP Health Begins Expanded Mobile Health Services  

Palm Springs, CA (March 23, 2021) — DAP Health’s Mobile Testing team began the rollout this week of its new and ongoing program to bring healthcare, counseling and help with life essentials to people in parts of the Coachella Valley where barriers to healthcare are known to be the most challenging.  

Regardless of the reason, avoiding care is hazardous to health and well-being, and DAP Health is meeting increased isolation by getting behind the wheel.  

After almost two years of planning and help from a grant from Direct Relief and Pfizer last winter, the Mobile Testing team will now administer treatments for STIs, on-the-spot counseling and rapid antiretroviral treatments for HIV. The van also havideo conference capabilities so that patients can consult with DAP doctors, and intakes for social services can be done from inside the van. 

In the first day, 1patients were seen for vital testing and treatment, and the opportunity for ongoing care by becoming a patient at DAP Health. The van’s new capability is helping to destigmatize sexuality with a quicker and more discrete way of intimate medical care 

STI rates remain the highest they have been for California in three decades, and many in the Coachella Valley continue facing new barriers to care and treatment as COVID continues 

DAP Health’s Mobile Testing is a gateway to DAP Health’s main campus. The health center offers medical and mental healthcare by skilled clinicians who understand that asking questions and listening to patients is essential for giving them the best care possible 

“To increase health equity, DAP Health is bringing services to patients who face barriers with traditional healthcare settings,” said C.J. Tobe, director of Community Health. “We help them where they are in their journey of life to address their needs and co-create a plan.” 

Extra Help  

Some of the life essentials being offered during visits to the DAP Health’s Mobile Testing Van are:

Food: 

  • Supplying food cards to people who test for HIV and STIs. 
  • Providing protein bars and Gatorade to our homeless neighbors, specifically to those are who being released from the county program after leaving the hospital or prison system. 
  • Delivering food and essential items to people who are unable to shop due to health illness. 

Transportation: 

  • Providing a way to get to and from medical appointments and pharmacies with Lyft rides or gas cards or bus passes 

Technology: 

  • Cutting isolation by providing TracFones to access community resources and their care team at DAP Health.  
  • One-on-one guidance for using the TracFone as a videoconferencing device for Virtual Visits with DAP Health doctors. 

Accessing Medi-Cal and Insurance  

  • Assistance with health insurance or Medi-Cal (including through Covered California), medication programs and other programs that reduce out-of-pocket expenses.  

Education: 

  • Culturally competent education literature in hard copy and digital to distribute to community members. 
  • Instruction for HIV / STI prevention  
  • PrEP / PEP, PrEP 2-1-1, and Doxy for PrEP
  • Free condoms / lube 

Health Equity and DAP Health 

DAP Health works to improve social determinants that affect people’s health outcomes, all of which have been compounded by the pandemic — these include 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 The Pfizer Foundation 

The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. It is a separate legal entity from Pfizer Inc. with distinct legal restrictions. The Foundation’s mission is to promote access to quality healthcare, to nurture innovation, and to support the community involvement of Pfizer colleagues.

About Direct Relief 

A humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need — without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. For more information, please visit https://www.DirectRelief.org.

About DAP Health

DAP Health is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 9,700 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of services enable patients to experiencoptimal 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 Health works to improve social determinants that affect people’s health outcomes, all of which have been compounded by the pandemic — these include food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to health care.  

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.       

 

DAP Health Unveils New Les Dames du Sole …

DAP Health Unveils New Les Dames du Soleil Wellness Space

By Jack Bunting

DAP Health continues to honor its history rooted in health equity, inclusivity, and community collaboration by unveiling a new lobby in its Barbara Keller Love Building, the first of two exhibitions planned this year.

Clients and visitors at DAP Health’s Wellness Wing will experience a space that has been transformed to pay homage to the fine art of drag, comedy and humanitarianism.

Now, warm colors and vintage cabaret posters, and a life-size photographic mural of the drag troupe Les Dames du Soleil are reminding everyone about this Valley’s rich history of inclusivity and fundraising.

“Steve Chase designed DAP’s first patient reception area noting the connection between physical surroundings and wellness,” explains David Brinkman, CEO. “Since then, we have continued to create welcoming and vibrant spaces for the community members we serve.”

To carry on this tradition, DAP Health partnered with Foley & Stinnette Interior Design, well known across North America for transforming residential and commercial spaces.

“Les Dames du Soleil are beautiful and vibrant inside and out, and we wanted the new waiting area to be a reflection of their empowering energy,” says Beau Stinnette. “Bold IS beautiful when curated the right way.”

Clients are used to waiting in the area for acupuncture, reiki, massage, and group meetings. It is also where the computer lab is located, used by many for resume building and job searches.

“I am really pleased with how they changed up the color and decorative scheme of the space,” said John, a DAP Health client. “It's just brighter, more vibrant, and a real change from the usual medical atmosphere, and I really appreciate it.”

For 30 years Les Dames du Soleil helped fund health access in The Coachella Valley, and their brand of humor and cabaret escapism improved the health of the entire community in an era when gay life was centered in bars, nightclubs, and galas. 

Douglas Woodmansee and Marshall Pearcy, life partners since 1976, started Les Dames du Soleil using their gift of bringing people out of their shells through laughter. With a revolving cast throughout the years, the troupe helped bring in much needed funding to DAP, giving people with HIV (PWH) a chance to access healthcare, sometimes for the first time.

“We were the drag queens for people who don’t like drag queens,” says Douglas. “We won them over with lots of comedy, artful costuming, and always affordable ways to pitch in and help people with HIV.”

Whether in a bar for change, or in a convention center with celebrities, Les Dames du Soleil spent decades engaging and delighting a loyal fanbase.

“Les Dames du Soleil had a valuable purpose,” says Douglas. “People wanted something to believe in; to enjoy—to laugh at and to cry over.”

During the early AIDS crisis, finding that kind of community support was much harder for LGBTQ people.

“Our shows struck at the heart of the community, which we realized was an extremely generous and caring one,” he said. “We kept delivering to our fans and our fans loved us for it.”

DAP Health has been increasing health equity for the LGBTQ people in The Coachella Valley for almost 40 years. This includes meeting health and inclusion needs for people in other categories who face disparities in accessing care, especially due to race, class and economic circumstance.

Building LGBTQ health equity has always included restoring the sense of belonging that many people lose because they are different. Due to open as well as cloaked hostilities, it still challenges many people to live authentically without facing isolation. Health experts warn that this is a serious health risk, and that community connection is a valuable antidote. 

Before there was crowdfunding, there was Les Dames du Soleil

Since 1994, they have raised $2 million so that people in the Coachella Valley with HIV can access the care and advocacy everyone deserves.

“Les Dames du Soleil gave the audience an avenue to donate money,” said Douglas. “And we gave them a quite a show in return for donating money to DAP.”

That support was essential, given the lack of funding for healthcare, especially for PWH. 

“We struggled along on nickels and dimes constantly,” says Ron Christenson, DAP’s founding treasurer. “Half the time we didn’t have the money to pay the rent—it was really hard.”

In a time before accessible healthcare and LGBTQ protections, DAP founders kept carrying on because the suffering that PWH were experiencing in their Valley was nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.

“The poverty was unimaginable,” says Ron. “People who were dying did not have food, and many could not work, because people were afraid of them.”

Fundraising was something that came with the territory if you wanted to make a difference, whether it happened in a bar or at a gala, and even if you had a day job in medicine.

To raise money, “We had big parties,” says Kathy McCauley, founding DAP RN. “And no matter who was coming, I always told them, ‘bring your wallet’.”

No matter the venue, audience participation was a regular part of the shows, and as the years went on, people who wouldn’t traditionally consider LGBTQ entertainment had become devoted supporters of Les Dames du Soleil.

“We gave them a cabaret for two-to-three hours,” Marshall said. “The idea was to come in, leave all your troubles behind, have a drink, have fun and laugh and sing along.”

Affordable Giving Can Move Mountains

“Les Dames du Soleil was founded on the premise that we wanted to include everyone,” says Marshall. “And by charging low admission rates, we made it so everyone could feel part of the community.”

Money was never the real reason; it was about community. People with HIV needed services and medication, and there were people of all income levels locally who wanted to support them.

“Everyone was able to participate and give somehow.” says Marshall. “You could take $25 and go to the bar by yourself, have a couple of drinks and throw the change into the tip jar.”

When Les Dames first started, they charged $3 at the door at the bars. Eventually when they started playing the ballrooms, prices went up to $20 and $25.

“I wouldn't let them go any higher because I said, the idea of  Les Dames du Soleil was founded on the premise that we wanted to include everyone. And we wanted everyone in the community to feel part of the community.”

“It might not have seemed like a lot of money, but every bit helped,” says Ron Christenson.

As fundraising events and venues went bigger in the 2000s, Les Dames du Soleil were in their element as they remained sought after in Palm Springs philanthropy, supporting many Coachella Valley non-profits, including The Center, AAP Food Samaritans, Jewish Family Service of the Desert, and Mizell Center.

However, they never stopped entertaining and making appearances at events where folks on a regular salary could show their pride with smaller sum donations.

Fans Supported the Cause Tirelessly

“What still gets me is the memory of a man who was terminally ill with AIDS, sitting in the audience and holding up a check for us,” says Douglas. “It was to honor the love of his life who had lost the fight himself.”

It meant the world to Douglas, because even in this man’s grief and with failing health, he wanted to come to the show, where he knew he was with friends, and he knew he belonged, he said.

“Everyone was welcome,” says Marshall.

Giving Back Worked Both Ways

Earlier in the AIDS crisis, Douglas felt an urgent need to make a difference by speaking at support groups for families who had lost loved ones. Despite their grief, he said, many families still carried so much homophobia. Expressing it in therapy was part of their journey, but he knew he could not handle the toxicity.

Then he saw the magic that was possible with a show, friends and fundraising—no matter what the venue.

“Now this, I can do!”

Marshall found a way to feel connected, and it was through using drag and cabaret for the well-being of people who needed healthcare and advocacy.

Talented Design Team Infused Heart

Volunteering his time and expertise for this project came naturally for Beau Stinnette, who together with Dann Foley make up Foley & Stinnette Interior Design.

“This project was truly an honor for me in many ways,” Beau says. “I have lived in Palm Springs since 1999 and I was a DAP client from 2000 to 2002.”

Maude and Dottie, played by Douglas and Marshall, were part of Beau’s memories from his early Palm Springs days, and as the years went by he came to know the incredible impact they were making, “and how they shined their bright light on The DAP community.”

"I needed to be true to the festiveness that's already happening with these ladies," says Beau. To do this, Foley & Stinnette used color palettes of red, blue and purple.

It also meant keeping the existing floor, already with a distinctive design and many more years of usefulness left.

"We also needed to be bolder than the floor," says Beau. The floor in the designated corridor, he says, is very specific with colors of Dark Tan and Navy Blue that run in a swirled pattern.

“I knew I had to be careful and consider everything as a whole,” he says. “The memorabilia, the mural, the flooring and the odd shape of the corridor were all part of the new plan.”

Foley & Stinnette selected the paint colors, the new Revivals chairs and tables, and the new diamond shaped wall sconces.

The mural is a big part of the plan, and it spans almost 15’ and is hugely colorful, he says. “As people begin to see and use the new space, all eyes will be up, not on the floor.”

As if with a cosmic wink, the spirit of HIV awareness and prevention made its way into every detail, even in the name of the paint that was used.

Sherwin Williams "Positively Red" was chosen, but Beau had selected the paint color before he knew the actual name.

“When I saw “SW6871 Positively Red,” I was elated, and I knew it was all meant to be.”

About Foley and Stinnette

Interior Designers Dann Foley and Beau Stinnette have built a reputation for great style, taste and quality through their namesake firm Foley & Stinnette Interior Design. For more than 25 years, they have honed their interior design craft with clients in the U.S. and Canada.

DAP Increasing Mobile STI Program Thanks …

DAP Increasing Mobile STI Program Thanks to Direct Relief and The Pfizer Foundation 

(Palm Springs, CA) December 10, 2020 -- STI rates remain the highest they have been for California in three decades, and many in the Coachella Valley continue facing new barriers to care and treatment as COVID continues. But with a recent award from Direct Relief, DAP’s Mobile Testing team will bring STI testing and treatment directly to neighborhoods where the need is greatest for these services.  

DAP will also use the award to provide more STI testing and treatment at the DAP campus in its sexual health clinic, staffed by DAP clinicians and following COVID health and safety protocols. DAP is the only California health center among 10 others nationwide winning the Innovation Awards in Community Health: Addressing Infectious Disease in Underserved Communities.  

“We are grateful to Direct Relief and The Pfizer Foundation for this generous award for our Mobile Testing program,” said David Brinkman, DAP CEO. “Together we can address areas of need in our community for STI testing and treatment that that been complicated by COVID.” 

The award is intended to support innovative approaches to infectious disease education, screening, testing, treatment, and care. The awards program is implemented by Direct Relief and is funded by The Pfizer Foundation. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing systemic health inequities, resulting in vulnerable patients and their loved ones experiencing even greater hardship," said Caroline Roan, President, The Pfizer Foundation and Chief Sustainability Officer, Pfizer Inc. "We are proud to support Direct Relief and its network of frontline safety-net clinics across the U.S. to break down barriers to good health in underserved communities and increase access to life-saving infectious disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care." 

“These awards are intended in part to allow providers to test and improve new care models and solutions, which is of utmost importance as healthcare is drastically changing due to COVID-19,” said Thomas Tighe, CEO and President of Direct Relief. “We are humbled by the dedication of these largely unheralded safety-net health providers to improve the lives and health of the people they care for.” 

About The Pfizer Foundation 
The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. It is a separate legal entity from Pfizer Inc. with distinct legal restrictions. The Foundation’s mission is to promote access to quality healthcare, to nurture innovation, and to support the community involvement of Pfizer colleagues. 

About Direct Relief 

A humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. For more information, please visit https://www.DirectRelief.org. 

About DAP Health Center 

DAP Health Center (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 people, 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 health and wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.  

DAP’s sexual health clinic 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.  

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.orgto learn more.  

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Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Media Alert

What:              Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is this weekend.

When:             Saturday and Sunday, October 23 & 24, 2020.

Where:            Online plus walk routes in Palm Springs and surrounding desert cities.

How:                Go to desertaidswalk.org for information and registration.

Why:                DAP needs community support for programs that offer our community:

          • Healthcare Access for All 
          • HIV/AIDS Education, Prevention & Care 
          • COVID-19 Clinic 

Health & Wellness Virtual Forum
Brought to you by Walgreens

Learn more about DAP's programs and services, our sponsors, and community partners. Since we can't inform, educate, and entertain in person we created a virtual forum for you to learn more about DAP's programs and services, our dedicated community sponsors, and the extended work of our partners. We'll send you a link before the virtual doors open.

Multiple Ways to Walk your Walk

We invite you to walk the familiar route that traditionally kicks off at Ruth Hardy Park where you might see a few surprises, but there are so many wonderful parks and trails across the Coachella Valley, why not visit one or more. Walking is good for the heart and soul. Click here to download the Ruth Hardy route. Suggested parks and trails in other neighborhoods include:

Demuth Park (Palm Springs)

Panorama Park (Cathedral City)

Guy J. Tedesco Park (Desert Hot Springs)

Michael S. Wolfson Park "Butler-Abrams Trail" (Rancho Mirage)

Civic Center Park (Palm Desert)

Bagdouma Park (Coachella)

South Jackson Park (Indio)

Capture and share your HOPE

Along the way there are plenty of opportunities for walkers to safely take selfies, like at new art installations, or designated stops to say hello to local businesses—all with the intention of sharing messages of HOPE via social media. 

In many ways, Desert AIDS Walk has always been virtual.  When it began thirty-four years ago, the first organizers say they did not know if the community would support it, but they knew the only way forward was together. Support from was instant, and their HOPE started to grow.  

 When walkers register, they will be given three clear reasons to walk in 2020:   

    • Healthcare Access for All 
    • HIV/AIDS Education, Prevention & Care 
    • COVID-19 Triage Clinic 

The reason for the Walk has never really been about balloon arches or walker t-shirts. It’s always been about the collective power of community and our shared vision of a future where everyone has the comprehensive care that they need to live their best lives.    

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way For COVID Response

Because of community support, DAP developed the services needed to respond to the AIDS epidemic while creating a patient-centered model of care that helps people with HIV. 

Thirty-four years of walking created the roadmap DAP used to quickly open a COVID-19 Triage Clinic, which has provided testing and respiratory treatment to almost 3,500 residents since the pandemic began. Together we are boldly applying lessons from our past to today's crisis.  

 
Desert AIDS Project CEO, David Brinkman explains: "By opening one of California's first COVID clinics, DAP made a choice.  We are survivors; fear cannot rule us; when crisis sets it, we step forward."  

  • We have the ability to end epidemics, including HIV and COVID 
  • We integrate Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment as critical components of Primary Care 
  • We address Social Determinates of Health, including racism and poverty, through our inclusive model of healthcare. 

With the ongoing courage and support of this community, our organization thrives.    

The AIDS crisis left unhealed wounds and it’s understandable that we may resist leaving our comfort zone.  But AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response.  It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help.   

And as we’ve learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.     You can find out more at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

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.org to learn more.

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Infusion of Support for HIV Continuum of …

Infusion of Support for HIV Continuum of Care at DAP

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

Palm Springs, CA (October 8, 2020) – DAP Health Center just received a big boost for its work to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the Coachella Valley, thanks to a $1,250,000 grant from the San Bernardino County Human Services Administration Ending the Epidemic Initiative.

Over the five-year grant period, DAP will help reach the initiative’s goal to significantly reduce new HIV infections by 75%.

This service delivery project will explore how much viral suppression outcomes are determined by improving linkage to care and retention in care.

It will closely follow DAP’s full HIV care continuum: testing, linkage into care after testing positive, being engaged in medical and mental healthcare, dentistry, social services, prescriptions access, and finally, documented viral suppression.

Drawing upon DAP’s current treatment protocols, and leveraging resources from the grant, work on this project will improve health outcomes for PLWHA. By cutting the time between diagnoses of HIV and entry into care, and making medication available quicker, less people will fall out of care. This also will decrease HIV transmission rates.

Despite COVID, reaching HIV testing and treatment targets for PLWHA remains an essential part of ending the HIV pandemic.

“If 90% of PLWHA begin antiretroviral treatment (ART) early enough, and they are consistently provided care, we will end HIV,” said David Brinkman, CEO.

Increasing viral suppression in our community is an important step in support of global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

UNAIDS 90-90-90 Initiative seeks to end HIV by reaching targets for testing, access to medication, and viral suppression.

About Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. The initiative aims to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90% by 2030. Ending the HIV Epidemic leverages critical scientific advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and outbreak response by coordinating the highly successful programs, resources, and infrastructure of many HHS agencies and offices and providing a targeted infusion of new resources and support to the jurisdictions most heavily impacted. 

About U=U & Prevention Access Campaign

Prevention Access Campaign is a health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health. Find out more here.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) is a growing global community of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and over 990 Community Partners from 102 countries uniting to clarify and disseminate the revolutionary but largely unknown fact that people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV.  

About UNAIDS 90-90-90

Increasing viral suppression in our community is in support of UNAIDS 90-90-90, the global plan to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The goal is that globally,

90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, and  

90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and

90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

According to its 2020 update, “The response could be set back further, by 10 years or more, if the COVID-19 pandemic results in severe disruptions to HIV services.”

About DAP Health Center

DAP Health Center (DAP) in Palm Springs, CA offers 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.daphealth.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

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$1 Million Granted by HRSA for DAP Upgra …

$1 Million Granted by HRSA for DAP Upgrades

New Generator for Power & HVAC Service in Emergencies

Palm Springs, CA (September 30, 2020) -- Soon, DAP Health Center (DAP) can respond and recover with uninterrupted service to patients in the event of a disaster or other emergency that results in power loss, thanks to a $1 million dollar grant from HRSA’s Capital Assistance for Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts (CADRE).

The medical team at DAP is trained at delivering emergency and disaster-related medical aid to the community, and this award will help ensure it has a backup power source and functioning HVAC it needs in such times.

Over the three-year grant period, DAP will replace eight outdated HVAC units and install a new emergency generator capable of supporting clinic operations. The alternative power source will keep HVAC units running, electronic health records accessible, and will preserve life-saving medications and vaccinations requiring refrigeration.

When the Coachella Valley area experienced power outages from severe flooding in winter 2019, DAP leadership grew concerned about how future outages might affect its ability to deliver needed services during an emergency, especially in its new Blue and Green Clinics.

The new clinics on the DAP campus, opened in March 2020, added an additional 30,000 square feet of clinic space. They alleviated a severe capacity challenge that was limiting DAP’s ability to serve ever increasing numbers of patients needing services.

Riverside County, where DAP delivers HIV testing, linkage to care, and treatment services, has been identified as one of the 48 counties in the United States with the highest burden of HIV infection. No other FQHC in Riverside County has been awarded a grant this size for this purpose by HRSA.

About HRSA

Tens of millions of Americans receive quality, affordable health care and other services through HRSA's 90-plus programs and more than 3,000 grantees.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

HRSA programs help those in need of high-quality primary health care, people with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, and mothers. HRSA also supports the training of health professionals, the distribution of providers to areas where they are needed most and improvements in health care delivery.

HRSA oversees organ, bone marrow and cord blood donation. It compensates individuals harmed by vaccination, and maintains databases that protect against health care malpractice, waste, fraud and abuse.

About DAP Health Center

DAP Health Center (DAP) in Palm Springs, CA offers 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.daphealth.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

Community Impact Newsletter September/Oc …

Community Impact Newsletter September/October 2020

Lifesaving HIV Meds Quicker Under New Rapid ART Program

DAP programs for promptly treating patients with HIV are being recognized again at the national level, and the result will save even more lives and prevent new cases. It also says a lot about our community, because without donor support, these programs are not possible.

Winning designation as a Rapid ART Implementation Site is an important milestone in the fight to end HIV. DAP stands with just 10 other healthcare organizations in the U.S. The Award for Special Projects Of National Significance was won in a competitive grant process and is bestowed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

By joining this national demonstration project and collaboration with HRSA, DAP will share its 36 years of experience in the fight to end HIV, and it will boost resources for its HIV testing and treatment programs for people in the Coachella Valley.

For a three-year period, DAP will continue to build and share its best practices for making sure PLWHA receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) quickly after receiving an initial HIV diagnosis, or immediately after requesting it if they had stopped ART for any reason.

Untreated HIV Threatens Coachella Valley

It’s a surprise to many, but people are still developing and even dying from AIDS in 2020, right here in the Coachella Valley. Our early intervention program had 160 referrals for attempts to find patients who had stopped filling their ART prescriptions, ceasing their HIV treatment without explanation. (Based on calendar year 2019)

Falling through the cracks means that some patients whose bodies had stabilized with life-saving HIV meds have stopped taking them, sometimes for five years or more. And for others, it means not starting therapy at all after receiving an HIV diagnosis.

Without accessing care, they are waiting until they are sick from HIV-related illnesses before attempting to resume ART and primary care.

Waiting to begin or resume ART always leaves a dangerous gap of time that could result in catastrophe, such as failing to ever adhere to medication therapy, or even death. Another consequence is the effect on others as sex partners are put at risk for HIV.

This collaboration with HRSA seeks to remedy the problem with a protocol that provides ART ASAP:

  • Same day as HIV diagnosis (some exceptions)
  • Quickly after request is made to resume therapy

The vast majority (about 80 percent) of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2016 were transmitted from the nearly 40 percent of people with HIV who either did not know they had HIV, or who received a diagnosis but were not receiving HIV care. (CDC)

According to Dr. Tulika Singh, DAP Associate Chief Medical Officer, not all physicians are permitted to treat their patients without administrative obstructions that derail health outcomes.

“Despite having extensive experience in HIV treatment and care, caregivers struggle to reduce high HIV prevalence and rising HIV incidence rates, due to delays in starting ART,” she says. “This is due to previous protocols and practicing traditional HIV medicine,” like having to do unnecessary lab work or jumping through hoops with insurance.

“No more!” says Dr. Singh.

Greater access for ART through this project will be enabled by DAP’s referral and linkage networks, with extensive arrangements with regional medical centers, community clinics and individual providers, in addition to this grant.

“We are able to provide rapid start ART for newly diagnosed persons living with HIV as early as the same day of diagnosis,” she says. “This will help us get to UN 90-90-90 goal sooner than anticipated and help our patients age in a healthy way.”

Getting Back On ART -- Helping Someone Find The Courage

Given what we know about the health consequences of stopping ART, the public health argument is strong for offering the resources to resume therapy quickly and without delay. This includes taking the time to make a personal connection, so that people can feel safe.

When it comes to why people fall out of care, “Every situation is so different,” says C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health at DAP.

Poverty affects most DAP clients, but it affects PLWHA uniquely. They might cope with denial, depression, and suicidal ideation. Stigma is often made worse by rejection from loved ones, and drug and alcohol abuse are more likely to increase.

But other factors may include housing insecurity, unemployment, lack of transportation, and fear of government due to immigration status. Being a recent transplant to the Palm Springs area from other parts of the U.S. also can also be a reason.

“People are also dying by not accessing all the things you need to make the medication keep working,” says Tobe.  “There’s a lot that goes into getting that treatment, starting with walking through those doors.”

In addition to ART, DAP helps patients thrive with HIV with access to social services they are eligible for, ensuring they receive needed food, housing, transportation, and home health care support if they need it.

U=U Helping End The Epidemic

The more people who are on treatment and undetectable, the fewer new transmissions there will be. According to Prevention Access founder Bruce Richman,

“We need access to treatment and removing barriers, not just for the wellbeing of people living with HIV,” he says. “But also, to prevent new transmissions.”

About U=U & Prevention Access Campaign

Prevention Access Campaign is a health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health. Find out more here.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) is a growing global community of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and over 990 Community Partners from 102 countries uniting to clarify and disseminate the revolutionary but largely unknown fact that people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV.  

About UNAIDS 90-90-90

 Removing barriers to ART is in support of UNAIDS 90-90-90, the global plan to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The goal is that globally,

90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, and  

90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and

90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

According to its 2020 update, “The response could be set back further, by 10 years or more, if the COVID-19 pandemic results in severe disruptions to HIV services.”

Using Tools That We Trust

Using Tools That We Trust 

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 19, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

Committed to Preventing Flu  

By missing a flu shot, as many as 50 million Americans may catch influenza this year, but now it can be much deadlier. 

Experts warn that it is possible to catch the flu on top of a COVID, but there is something everyone can do now to make a huge difference. Flu season starts in late fall, and getting your vaccination is recommended by October 1, 2020. 

Now is the time to schedule your flu shot with your DAP doctor by logging onto MyChart, or by calling (760) 323-2118. Please read more here

Flu season often is delayed in Southern California, meaning we see cases peak in January through February. DAP is timing its flu shots so that patients retain immunity during peak months. 

If you have HIV, you are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. In addition to taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), the best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu shot.  

Questions About Flu? Call Us! 

Our COVID Clinic also specializes in multiple upper and lower respiratory diseases, including flu. Anyone interested in talking about the flu should call 760-992-0407 to talk to a clinician.  

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way for COVID Response 

36 years of walking created the roadmap DAP used to quickly open a COVID Clinic, which has provided testing and respiratory treatment to almost 3,500 residents since the pandemic began. Together we are boldly applying lessons from our past to today's crisis.  

Because of community support, DAP developed the services needed to respond to the AIDS epidemic while creating a patient-centered model of care that today helps more than 7,000 patients, regardless of HIV status. 

The AIDS crisis left unhealed wounds and it is understandable that we may resist leaving our comfort zone.  But AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response.  It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help. Read more here

ANAC Promotion For Anthony Velasco

ANAC Promotion For Anthony Velasco

Ask any long-term HIV/AIDS survivor, and they will tell you the impact nurses make in their lives. Nurses keep PLWHA safe by managing their care, and their empathy and support are linked to sustaining ART adherence.

When you have a global network of engaged nurses who work in AIDS care sharing knowledge, life and care for PLWHA is so much better. That is the function of The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC).

It’s an honor to announce DAP HIV Specialist, Anthony Velasco, nurse practitioner and co-chair of our Transgender Care Program, has been elevated by ANAC to the office of Nominating Committee.

According to ANAC, “Anthony's dedication and commitment to the organization and all of those affected by HIV/AIDS is recognized and appreciated by us all. The membership has voiced their confidence in your leadership.”

We are so proud of Anthony. For more information about Anthony and DAP’s Gender Affirming Care, please watch the Born to Be panel discussion below.

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.

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

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