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Dr. Shubha Kerkar: IDSA Fellowship is To …

Dr. Shubha Kerkar: IDSA Fellowship is Top Accolade  

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

(Palm Springs, CA) December 10, 2020 -- Shubha KerkarMD, FIDSA, was given the top honor in her field when she was elected recently as a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the nation’s leading infectious diseases professional society. This accolade helps shine a spotlight on her decades of service to people with HIV (PWH) in the Coachella Valley, beginning in the early 1990s, when mortality rates were much higher. 

“I am delighted, and I feel appreciative of this recognition,” said Dr. Kerkar. “I recognize that I walk this path of success, together with all, and not alone.” 

Today as COVID presents similar challenges for patients and health care workers to navigate, she continues making a substantial contribution to public healthDr. Kerkar is Director of Infectious Diseases at DAP and Desert Regional Medical Center, and an infectious diseases consultant at Eisenhower Health.  

Dr. Kerkar helped us write the roadmap created during the worst years of the AIDS crisis, one that we apply today for patient care at DAP,” said David Brinkman, CEO. “While COVID continues to complicate healthcare, her expertise in infectious diseases is matched only by her leadership and compassion for others.” 

Fellowship in IDSA is the highest honor in the field of infectious diseases. It is given to those who have achieved professional excellence and provided significant service to the profession.  

“Infectious diseases specialists have trained their entire careers to step up to the plate during a crisis such as the one we face today with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IDSA President Barbara Alexander, MD, MHS, FIDSA. “ID physicians and scientists are working on the front lines of every aspect of this outbreak, from treating patients to developing and studying diagnostics and therapies to working on vaccines. They are also preparing for the next outbreak and protecting individual and public health.” 

As COVID vaccines are nearing release, Dr. Kerkar is quick to point out that public trust in any vaccination is the first hurdle in widespread adoption. She and her peers play a big role.  

“Winning trust in the vaccines depends on the credibility of the doctorsscientistsand experts who must act now to educate and work to calm fears around safety and efficacy,” said Dr. Kerkar. “Once accepted, then the details of how to administer to the entire world population are practical challenges. 

You can watch Dr. Kerkar describe the early days of HIV when she accepted the 100 Women Award from Barbara Boxer at the 2018 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards here. 

Applicants for IDSA Fellowship must be nominated by their peers and meet specified criteria that include continuing identification with the field of infectious diseases, national or regional recognition, and publication of their scholarly work. Nominees are reviewed and elected by the IDSA Board of Directors. Fellows of IDSA work in many different settings, including clinical practice, teaching, research, public health and health care administration. You can read more here. 

About the Infectious Diseases Society of America 

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is a community of over 12,000 physicians, scientists and public health experts who specialize in infectious diseases. Our mission is to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases. 

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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Revivals After-Dark Event Raised Funds a …

Revivals After-Dark Event Raised Funds and Evoked Origins of DAP 

Mental health advocacy and patient access were focus

(Palm Springs, CA) November 19, 2020 -- This community raised $6,000 in the first hour as it shopped last Sunday for all things leather at the Revivals After Dark Back Alley Event.

Volunteers worked to make the event safe, so that everyone attending could focus on finding incredible deals on a variety of leather clothing, plus accessories, erotic art and literature. These items are donated to Revivals Stores throughout the year and put aside for this special occasion.

Hosting the event outdoors was the right thing to do for safety, and it also created an urban feel that was enhanced with upbeat music as people shopped.

“We did this to say thank you to the Leather Community also,” says Michael McCartney, Revivals area manager. “From day one they have been a major part of Revivals.”

For some, it was an opportunity to experience a popular gay subculture that can be intimidating and costly as well.

“This event gives people who want to explore leather, kink, and fetish, but who don’t want to invest too much money up front,” says Charlie Harding, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020.  “They get to dip their toe in the water.”

There is more to it than that, he says.

“We’re providing a sex-positive environment that welcomes everyone to come together while we raise money for healthcare access and mental health awareness,” Charlie says.

Volunteers Hosted and Monitored Safety

Revivals volunteer Mark Musin is usually running the lamps department, but he and about 40 other volunteers pulled together and set up a browsing experience that put safety and spaciousness first.

“We used more tables than I thought we would, and we put more space in between them for social distancing,” he says.

Mark and the team placed all of the art for sale facing in one direction, a move to help guide the flow of people walking without getting too close.

“We did the same thing with books and accessories,” Mark says. “We could not have anyone feeling as though they were crowded.”

Throughout the event Mark and the team used mobile devices to monitor crowd size and report in with each other.  From inside the Palm Springs Revivals store and throughout the back alley, volunteers were ensuring everything was orderly, although guests were already eager to comply with safety guidelines.

“Customers know we take safety seriously, and they are supportive,” Mark says.

And not just at the Leather Event.

“Every morning there is a line before the store opens, and it’s because Revivals customers know it is safe.” Mark says.

Raising Awareness for Mental Health Advocacy

Taking a community approach for mental health advocacy, DAP co-sponsored this pop-up event to support work by Charlie Harding, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020, and his organization to bring more people into services they need.

“I try to help people understand and get past the stigma of mental illness,” he says.

While mental health challenges disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ people, the CDC says COVID is increasing them for everyone and overwhelming communities.

According to Charlie, when someone is struggling with a mental health challenge, everyone in their life needs to be united in providing support. He educates the leather community on the red flags that someone who is struggling may display, and how to offer help to that person.

“To help people feel better, you need your doctors, the support groups, the families and friends all to be supportive of each other,” Charlie says. “To improve quality of life.”

After years of raising awareness for more LGBTQ+ mental health access, Charlie believes it is finally translating into more available services locally, as advocates and health experts continue pointing to alarming statistics.

“The LGBTQ+ community has led the way in calling attention to it because of our higher suicide rates and societal negativity that is still in place around coming out,” he says. “But we are starting to see support groups and mental health services available, and it will increase the quality of life for everybody who struggles.”

Getting past stigma, towards understanding

“You tell people you have diabetes and they’re ok, but you say you are bipolar, and they immediately take pause,” Charlie says.

Stigma around mental illness can keep people from seeking services. But by openly sharing about his life with bipolar disorder, Charlie helps bring hope to others who are struggling. Describing the feelings can help people understand.

“It’s feeling like you rule the world,” he says. “And then, feeling like it’s about to end.”

He also describes how confusing it can be if friends and family don’t understand what mental health challenges look like.

“You’ll see someone who seems to be the life of the party,” he says, “And you cannot understand why they might have such mood swings and get so low.”

The alley has a very special significance to DAP 

Decades ago in an office above, a group of off-duty medical professionals would meet AIDS patients at night to administer treatments in an era when HIV was still a mystery and conventional healthcare providers in the area were forbidden from treating people with AIDS. This was the beginning of Desert AIDS Project.

It seemed fitting that in the midst of another pandemic, volunteers were once again using the space for an unintended purpose--to promote the welfare of the community.

About Charlie Harding, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020

As Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2020, Charlie hopes to further issues important to him and our community such as sex positivity, mental health support, and gender diversity. He is developing a mental health initiative "Charlie Harding's Angel Project in Service," also known as CHAPS, and working towards eliminating the stigma attached to mental illness. Find out more at mrpalmspringsleather.com.

About Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert 

PSLOD welcomes community members to explore membership in our organization. All new members are required to complete a pledge process prior to assuming the duties of a PSLOD General Member. Find out more at pslod.org. 

About Revivals

The very first Revivals store was opened in 1995, in a back corner of the Desert AIDS Project office on Vella Road. Since those earliest days, the funds raised through selling donated goods at Revivals has gone back to support client services at D.A.P., while also providing a great volunteer opportunity for those who wanted to support the organization with their time and retail talents. Today, all of the stores are largely volunteer-run, enabling Revivals to make a significant financial contribution to the annual budget of Desert AIDS Project, which has earned a national reputation as one of the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS service providers in the U.S. Learn more at www.revivalsstores.com.

About DAP Health

DAP Health (DAP) is a humanitarian health center in Palm Springs, CA serving more than 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.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.org to learn more.

More HIV Care with Updated HIVMA Guideli …

More HIV Care with Updated HIVMA Guidelines

Dr. Tulika Singh noticing more equity in HIV care

(Palm Springs, CA) November 12, 2020 – Significant additions to nationally accepted HIV care guidelines will help more patients receive excellent care, and will help stop new infections, according to Dr. Tulika Singh, DAP director of research.

The HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America updated its care guidelines for people with HIV (PWH). DAP’s Dr. Singh was one of only eight co-authors who worked on this important resource that will have a national impact on PWH. This is the first update since 2013.

“It is a one-stop shop for primary care guidance for all HIV clinicians!” says Dr. Singh. “Patients benefit when they get the best care.”

Significant additions in four areas address vital health issues facing PWH, and the teams caring for them. They include:

  • guidance for physicians treating transgender and non-binary patients with HIV,
  • leveraging Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) as part of patient education,
  • care for aging with HIV over 50, and
  • care standards for rapid start antiretroviral treatment.

DAP Health is an established authority in these areas, offering patients access to excellent and compassionate care, regardless of insurance. These updated HIV primary care guidelines used by thousands of clinicians in the U.S. will enable better care for patients, even if they never come to DAP.

“This will help clinicians all over who might need more experience and resources in these areas,” says Dr. Singh.

Transgender and Non-Binary Patients Added

This is the first time these guidelines approach HIV care for transgender and non-binary patients, a group disproportionately affected by HIV and who face extra barriers in healthcare.

“HIV care for transgender and non-binary patients is special, and it needs to be treated so,” says Dr. Singh, who was the second lead for this section of the report.

According to a study by UC Riverside, only 15% of transgender and non-binary individuals reported it was easy to find a provider with sufficient knowledge and experience on issues related to transgender people.

“Education and experience in this area are helpful to reduce bias, and that is important,” says, Dr. Singh. “We want to establish trust and enable transgender and non-binary patients to be fully engaged in their care.”

U=U and Rapid Start ART

Other important affirmations affecting health outcomes for PWH include treatment as prevention, starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) as soon after an HIV diagnosis as possible, and aging with HIV.

Even though effective HIV treatment reduces the level of HIV to "undetectable" levels and makes PWH incapable of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners, many clinicians are not sharing this information with PWH. These guidelines address U=U as well as the stigma it can prevent.

According to the update:

“Clinicians should emphasize that adherence to antiretrovirals not only improves the patient’s health but prevents HIV transmission to others. Undetectable = Untransmittable messaging is welcomed and encouraged by communities with HIV and should be part of routine messaging in the clinic as a means to mitigate stigma. The primary reason for treatment failure, particularly among patients who take initial regimens, is suboptimal adherence to care or treatment regimens.”

Dr. Singh says how quickly patients start ART also affects transmission rates and points to why doctors haven’t been as effective they’d like in stopping new cases.

“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,” Dr. Singh says. “This is due to previous protocols and practicing traditional HIV medicine.”

DAP recently won designation as a Rapid ART Implementation Site, standing 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). Read more here.

About Desert AIDS Project

DAP Health (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 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.

For more information, visit www.desertaidsproject.org

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.  

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ViiV SOLAR Study at DAP: Injectable ART …

ViiV SOLAR Study at DAP: Injectable ART every 2-Months

Diversity was key in choosing participants

DAP Health is one of the few health centers in the U.S. working on a study using only six injections per year for maintaining viral suppression in people with HIV (PWH). The SOLAR study with ViiV Healthcare began in November and will last one year. 

The FDA approved once-monthly Cabenuva injections to treat HIV in January 2021. 

At this time, the participant panel is complete, and no applications are being accepted. 

For some PWH, taking medication in pill form every day is difficult, and it can cause poor adherence that harms their health and puts others at risk. Traditional HIV meds can also lead to side effects with long term use. 

Participants in the SOLAR Study at DAP will receive intramuscular (IM) injections of CABENUVA every two months for HIV treatment.  This regimen is not publicly available, but it holds a lot of promise for DAP patients, according to Dr. Tulika Singh, DAP director of research. 

It was important to Dr. Singh that the SOLAR Study at DAP includes participants who are usually underrepresented in HIV research: cisgender women and transgender women. 

“With the help of this study, we are able to start closing a research gap,” said Dr. Singh, “and we can contribute to serving these patient groups better.” 

Specifically, this phase IIIb, randomized, multicenter, parallel-group, non-inferiority, open-label study will evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of switching to long-acting Cabotegravir plus long-acting Rilpivirine from a Bictegravir single tablet regimen in HIV-1 infected adults who are virologically suppressed. 

Once-Monthly CABENUVA is Available in Canada 

Health Canada approved a once-monthly version of CABENUVA for use there in March. CABENUVA is the first and only complete long-acting regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults to replace traditional antiretroviral therapy. 

About DAP Health  

DAP Health (DAP) is an advocacy-based health center in Palm Springs, CA serving over 8,000 patients, offering medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. Excellent HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area.      

DAP opened one of California’s first COVID clinic and hotlines to offer screening, testing, and treatment. DAP is also working to address social determinants of health that are causing negative health outcomes during this pandemic, like food and housing insecurity, joblessness, isolation, and access to ongoing healthcare.  

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that DAP exceeds industry standards in terms of financial health, accountability, and transparency.      

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.      

About ViiV Healthcare 
ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV and for people who are at risk of becoming infected with HIV. Shionogi joined in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and innovative medicines for HIV treatment and prevention, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com. 

About GSK 
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com. 

DAP Patients Joining ANCHOR Study for An …

DAP Patients Joining ANCHOR Study for Anal Health

(Palm Springs, CA) October 21, 2020 -- There are only four places on the entire West Coast where people living with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA) can participate in The ANCHOR Study, and DAP Health Center is one of them. HPV-related anal cancer disproportionately harms PLWHA, especially cisgender gay men and transgender women. Unfortunately, prevention, treatment and support are difficult for them to find. Now, DAP patients can receive long term screenings and treatment, thanks to our designation as an ANCHOR Study site.

DAP medical and research clinicians worked hard to earn a place in this groundbreaking project. ANCHOR Study seeks to stop cases of preventable anal cancer in PLWHA by establishing testing and treatment protocols.

There are 40 participants enrolled at DAP so far, and “the team is welcoming more,” according to Dr. David Morris, chief medical officer. Participants are paid $100 per study visit to compensate for time, effort, and travel expenses.

For many DAP patients living with HIV, screening and treatment for a variety of cancers is part of their continuum of HIV care. If they take part in ANCHOR Study, they will monitor and support their anal health with top doctors and researchers, staying in contact for five-to-eight years. They will be contributing to groundbreaking scientific research that will help save lives in the future.

Living with HIV puts many of our patients at higher risk for anal cancer, even if they are on successful antiretroviral therapy (ART). ANCHOR Study aims to show treatment of pre-cancerous cells will lead to a reduction of 75% of incident HPV-related anal cancer.

Anyone interested in the ANCHOR Study is invited to contact Greg Jackson, DAP research coordinator, at (760) 992-0445 or gjackson@desertaidsproject.org. To read more about ANCHOR Study at DAP click here.

More about ANCHOR Study

"No one knew that cervical cancer was preventable before the use of Pap smears became widespread in the 1960s and cut the incidence of the disease by 80 percent."- Dr. Joel Palefsky, Principal Investigator

While deaths from AIDS are way down, anal cancer among people living with HIV is on the rise. We think that anal cancer can be prevented by routine screening and removal of precancerous cells. This strategy has reduced cervical cancer rates by 80%. But to get the insurance companies to cover routine anal cancer screening and preventative treatment, we need to prove that this strategy actually prevents cancer. The best way to show that is to recruit people with High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (or HSIL for short) into a study and assign them randomly to a treatment arm or a monitoring arm. We then follow everyone for five years to compare the rates of cancer in both study arms. At the end of the study we’ll know whether screening and treatment of HSIL are effective strategies in preventing anal cancer. We’ll also learn a lot about HPV and other risk factors and why these sometimes cause cancer.

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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2020 Voter Information

2020 Voter Information

Due to the pandemic, all Californians with active voter registrations will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Elections offices will send out vote-by-mail ballots by October 5. Confirm your registration to make sure elections officials have your current mailing address and language preference.

You can also vote in person in all Southern California counties. Below is a summary of your options to cast a ballot this November. Find more information below about your county.

Cast Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

Casting your vote-by-mail ballot will allow you to vote safely and will reduce crowding at polling locations or vote centers for individuals who need to or prefer to vote in-person. You can return a completed vote-by-mail ballot on or before Election Day by:

  • Mailing it to your local elections office Mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, November 3, 2020. There is no postage required to return a vote-by-mail ballot.
  • Dropping it off at your local elections office or at any ballot drop box, polling place, or vote center.
    • Palm Springs City Hall and Demuth Community Center
    • Cathedral City 68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero and Date Palm Country Club
    • Banning: 99 E. Ramsey St.
    • Beaumont: 440 E 6th St.
    • Hemet: 445 E. Florida Ave; Seven Hills Members Club; Valley Vista Library
    • Desert Hot Springs: 11999 Palm Drive
    • Rancho Mirage: 69825 Hwy 111
    • Palm Desert: PD City Hall
    • Indo: City Hall; Indo Corporate Yard; Indio Public Library 200 Civic Center Mall]

Vote-by-mail is a safe and secure option. Remember to sign your vote-by-mail envelope. You can track your vote-by-mail ballot to make sure it’s counted.

Voting Options by Southern California County

In California, you can always vote-by-mail by Election Day. If you decide to vote in-person or drop-off your ballot, you have options. Select your Southern California county of residence to learn more:

Riverside County

San Bernardino County

  • Polling Place. San Bernardino County will use a polling location model this November. There will be 210 polling locations. Voters will receive a polling “assignment” printed on the back of their Voter Information Guide, but they will be able to vote in-person or drop-off a ballot at any of the County’s 210 polling locations. A select number of locations will be available for early voting beginning October 26, and the rest will be available beginning October 31. Polling locations will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the early voting period. On Election Day, polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Ballot Drop-Box. San Bernardino County plans to have 70 secure Ballot Drop-off locations available beginning October 6.
  • See the final list of polling locations and Ballot Drop-Off locations in San Bernardino County as they are updated.

PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 26, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

New HIV infections are continuing in our Valley, and years of our work to reverse this trend are in danger unless we offer the public every prevention method we can.

Most of our clients who are using PrEP to prevent HIV are on the daily dose, and this remains the most effective regiment. For a few, daily dosing is not an option, and we believe in making this lifesaving therapy available to them.

Clinical data indicates that while daily PrEP has shown to be 99% effective in preventing HIV, PrEP 2-1-1 has been shown to be up to 86% effective. 

With medication delivery, telephone consults, and sanitized stations for periodic STI testing, clients are preventing HIV while being safely served. You can learn more here.

Seniors Need Protection--Less Isolation

Specialists say social isolation can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but many people over age 65 in our community are trapped with long-term social seclusion, worsened by this pandemic. We’ve created a medical home for them, with specialized doctors and therapists they can access from home, and a social services team to link them to programs and coverage.  

Seniors make up almost 30 percent of this Valley’s population, about double the national average. Because many already identified as physically vulnerable pre pandemic, seniors are experiencing added isolation from adhering to current social distance rules. 

As the length of this pandemic takes a toll on even the most resilient seniors, advocates like Dr. Jill Gover, our behavioral health manager contributed to a story in The Desert Sun:

"(Older people) are not willing to take the risk and so they are much more isolated — it was a major problem to begin with and COVID has only exacerbated it." (read more here)

Untreated HIV Still A Threat

We hope these numbers do not increase as the economy suffers, but people are still developing and dying from AIDS in 2020, right here in the Coachella Valley. Staying in treatment for HIV is not easy for many, but our medical team has the expertise and heart to help anyone re-enter care without judging them.

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) You can read more here about our work to make sure anyone needing HIV treatment can get it quickly.

Accessing PrEP During COVID-19

Accessing PrEP During COVID-19 

Getting on PrEP at DAP is easy. We offer help with insurance and discount programs, and our navigators and doctors give you specialized attention to find out what works best for you as an individual. 

Most of our clients who are using PrEP to prevent HIV are on the daily dose, and this remains the most effective regiment. Clinical data indicates that while daily PrEP has shown to be 99% effective in preventing HIV, PrEP 2-1-1 has been shown to be up to 86% effective. 

For a few, daily PrEP is not an option, and we believe in making this lifesaving therapy available to everyone. Your DAP doctor can tell you more. 

Under certain circumstances, PrEP 2-1-1, or PrEP-on-demand, is available at DAP. While we fight COVID-19, our doctors are also keeping their patients safer from HIV by finding new ways to protect their sexual health. 

During this period of lockdown, we make daily dosing easy for you. With medication delivery, telephone consults, and sanitized stations for periodic STI testing, clients are preventing HIV while being safely served. 

If you or someone you know wants to talk about PrEP, please call (760) 323-1999 to talk to a member of our team who’s ready to tell you more. You can also learn more here. 

Flu Vaccination at DAP Suggested by Octo …

Flu Vaccination at DAP Suggested by October 1, 2020

Easy Flu Shots Protect All Season Long

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

Flu season starts in late fall, and getting your vaccination is recommended by October 1, 2020.

Why Is A Flu Shot So Important?

By missing a flu shot, as many as 50 million Americans may catch influenza this year, but now it can be much deadlier. Serious complications from the flu are deadly enough to kill over 34,000 people in the U.S. every year. (CDC)

Experts warn that it is possible to catch the flu on top of a COVID, but a flu shot makes a huge difference.

Everyone should get a flu shot, but especially if they are 65 years and older or living with:

    • HIV/AIDS
    • diabetes
    • heart disease
    • serious overweight issue (40 BMI)
    • HCV
    • cancer

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.

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.

If you have the flu

It is important to seek immediate care from your DAP doctor for flu-like symptoms by logging onto MyChart, or by calling (760) 323-2118.

You can also call our COVID Clinic to discuss your symptoms and find out if our respiratory treatment options are right for you.

Treatment provided for upper and lower respiratory infections at DAP’s COVID Clinic includes:

    • Oxygen Therapy for patients who have lower than normal levels
    • Nebulizer treatments to open airways and address shortness of breath
    • IV Fluids for dehydration
    • Fever control with medication
    • Community Acquired Pneumonia Treatment – Injection of antibiotics and ability to prescribe medications to our DAP Walgreens (overnight home delivery available)
    • Influenza A & B testing and treatment
    • Strep Throat testing and treatment

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. 

Check-in with your doctor about other shots you might need

Depending on your age and certain risk factors, other immunizations may be needed. This is a good time to make sure you are current on immunizations by discussing it with your doctor (examples include bacterial Pneumonia and Hepatitis vaccines).

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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.

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 Talks: Restoring Hope – Nation …

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been experiencing anxiety, fear, frustration, sadness, and loneliness. And some, to the point that those feelings have become unbearable. If you’re feeling hopeless and having thoughts about suicide or you’re concerned about someone else, listen to Dr. Gover, Clinical Psychologist, talk about some ways to find help, and restore hope.

Suicide Prevention Resources:

If emergency medical care is needed, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. The phone lines are answered by trained professionals; the call is free and confidential.

Riverside County

If you need to be connected to mental health services in Riverside County, call the CARES Line at (800) 706-7500. You may also call or walk into a Riverside County 24/7 Mental Health Urgent Care location. Whether you are in crisis or just need someone to talk to, all services are voluntary. Counseling and nursing, as well as, psychiatric medications are available. All locations are open 24/7 and everyone is welcome regardless of insurance type or ability to pay.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth and young adults, ages 13–24, over the phone, online and via text. Trevor Lifeline (24/7): (866) 488-7386, TrevorText: Text the word “Trevor” to (202) 304-1200 to text with a trained counselor on Fridays from 1–5 p.m., TrevorChat: Confidential chat service with a trained volunteer counselor available 7 days a week, from 12 noon –6 p.m. Learn more at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

It Gets Better Project

This website is a place where young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender can see how love and happiness can be a reality in their future. It’s a place where people can share their stories, take the It Gets Better Project pledge, watch videos of love and support and learn about resources. Visit https://itgetsbetter.org/ to learn more. What’s Up Safehouse What’s Up Safehouse is a 24/7, free, anonymous mental health crisis texting line. Get immediate support from a licensed mental health professional. Dedicated to helping support the residents of Riverside County through issues surrounding anxiety, substance abuse, depression, school pressure, peer pressure, LGBTQ struggles, relational issues, suicidal thoughts, bullying, and any other issue that is causing trouble. Text SHHELP to 844.204.0880 24/7 for immediate support and resources. Learn more at https://safehouseofthedesert.com/what…