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

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

DAP Leadership Presents Infectious Disea …

D.A.P.’s own David Morris MD and Matt Moran MSN, ANP-BC, presented their research at the prestigious Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), happening this week in Boston.

CROI brings together top clinical researchers from around the world to share important developments and best research methods in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases.

CROI is a global model of collaborative science and the premier international venue for bridging basic and clinical investigation to clinical practice in the field of HIV and related viruses.

We are so proud!

Sex Toy Talk, How To Do It Safely at Tou …

If you thought you knew everything about sex toys, you’re in for a surprise. When Joey Valenzuela, co-owner of Not So Innocent adult store presents to the crowd at Toucan’s, it will be about more than latex. He will explore the benefits of role-play for sexual health, as well as the potential for human disconnection due to online porn, and how we can avoid isolation.

“I want people to be OK with sex, with what’s in their mind, and then go have a safe experience.”

To get to that place, however, sometimes it takes self-exploration. “It’s OK to admit you don’t know what you want or like,” he says. “Once you decide what’s realistic in your own mind, we want you to then be safe with what you do.”

While the latest sex toys and supplies will be explored, the underlying theme will be how we humans approach sex. Clay Sales, Mr. Leather Washington 2016 will be onstage to help with the conversation.

Valenzuela is concerned about our digital world and the prevalence of people accessing sex and pornography online, but not for the reasons one might think.

“We have access to sex all the time, but we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes with the actors.”

When people attempt to mimic what they see in porn, especially with sex toys or BDSM scenarios, without knowing the proper techniques, they could experience physical injuries.

The actors in videos he says, “They are either educated on what they’re doing, or they’re likely hurting themselves.”

Valenzuela has a lot of experience counseling people on sex toys and BDSM. He and his husband opened up Not So Innocent on North Palm Canyon Drive in 2014

“It’s hard to talk about sex,” says Joey Valenzuela, but he and his husband Bill Freyer encourage people to do so daily at their shop.

Sometimes he feels like a private counselor, and he’s just fine with that.

“There’s times after a long day that we’re so tired after all the conversations, but it’s really rejuvenating.”

Damon Jacobs on Dating and Relationships …

Join us in person for a complimentary drink or two plus passed hors d’oeuvres, or watch our Facebook Livestream during the event to ask this nationally recognized PrEP advocate your questions.

Getting our heads around how PrEP and PEP works likely is less of an undertaking than the emotional implications it will have for how we connect with our partner/s in this new era.

According to Bruce Weiss, Desert AIDS Project’s Director of Community Health, “Before PrEP and PEP, the only way of protecting each other and ourselves from contracting HIV was abstinence and condom use. Abstinence was frustrating, and relying solely on condoms proved challenging for many.  Not only did new infections still occur at a destructive pace, many felt a sense of fear around sex, as well as worry when getting regular HIV tests. We have heard consistently from gay men that it was hard to really enjoy sex without this fear and anxiety, even when consistently using condoms.”

Old ways of thinking, like other habits, die hard. But with PrEP, this fear surrounding sex is no longer necessary for us to protect each other and ourselves. Damon Jacobs, LMFT, is determined to help us grasp this, and even go deeper.

According to Jacobs, we are still not discussing how we cognitively and emotionally connect. The puzzle he wants to help each of us solve is “how can sexual connections be experienced as meaningful whether they last an hour, a year, or five decades.”

If anyone should know, it’s Damon Jacobs. He’s a licensed marriage and family therapist, HIV prevention specialist, and nationally-recognized PrEP advocate.

“Integrating PrEP education into a private psychotherapy practice was a natural fit for me, given my work for most of the past 20 years has centered on enhancing serenity in individuals, increasing pleasure in relationships, and challenging oppressive structures in society.”

2017 HIV and Aging Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Event Contact: JP Allen
Desert AIDS Project
(760) 898-0133
jallen@desertaidsproject.org

D.A.P. Contact: Tom Tarr
(760) 656-8464 direct
ttarr@desertaidsproject.org

SAVE THE DATE: September 15, 2017
Local Organizations Present “Aging Positively”
A Free Conference Focusing On Seniors with HIV
on National HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Day

PALM SPRINGS, CA (August 21, 2017) – On Friday, September 15th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Mizell Senior Center. The day is also National HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Day.

The eight organizations are: Desert AIDS Project, The Clinton Foundation, Let’s Kick ASS, The Cathedral City Senior Center, The Joslyn Senior Center, The LGBT Community Center of the Desert, Jewish Family Service of the Desert and Mizell Senior Center.

“D.A.P. is proud and excited to collaborate with these dedicated organizations that provide comprehensive services to Coachella Valley’s aging population living with HIV/AIDS,” said Bruce Weiss, Director of Community Health at Desert AIDS Project. “We want to thank each of the conference speakers, committee members and the Mizell Senior Center who donated their time and effort to make this conference free of cost and open to everyone.” Weiss will serve as host and moderator for the event.

According to the Riverside County Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS, 2015 report: 28.8 percent of all people living with HIV in the Coachella Valley are 60 or older. From 2006 through 2015 over half of all HIV cases diagnosed in the Coachella Valley are among adults 45 years old or older. The average age of persons living with HIV in the Coachella Valley is 52.1 years, compared to 40.2 in the rest of the county.

The conference features four noted speakers who will each present a 20 minute program followed by a 10 minute Q&A. At noon a complimentary lunch will be served to all attendees.

“HIV and Aging: Risks and Resiliencies” presented by Jill Gover, Ph.D. Jill Gover is the Director of The Scott Hines Mental Health Clinic at The Center. She is a clinical psychologist, specializing in addiction, anxiety, depression, aging, and LGBT issues.

“Isolation of Older Americans” presented by Woody Bloch. Woody Bloch is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and the Clinical Director at Jewish Family Service of the Desert. He also continues to provide counseling to children, adolescents, their families and adults and has done so for the last eleven years. Joining him is Judy Monetathchi, who is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Geriatric Case Manager at Jewish Family Service of the Desert. She currently counsels individuals and families, facilitates a women’s group on Healthy Relationships, and works with seniors on finding solutions to various needs they may have.

“Sexual Health and How to Talk to Your Provider” presented by Tulika Singh, MD., along with Eric Jannke, local HIV advocate. Dr. Singh is a Board Certified HIV Specialist, and an Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Physician, working in HIV care since 2009. Prior to joining the Desert AIDS Project, she worked as a Primary Care and Infectious Disease Specialist at North Ottawa Community Hospital in Grand Haven, Michigan. Joining Dr. Singh on stage is Eric Jannke. He is an HIV advocate and serves in the leadership of Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome) Palm Springs. He’s also a client volunteer for Desert AIDS Project.

“The Transition from Private Insurance to Medicare” presented by Roger Townsend. Roger Townsend, MD is a retired physician who has been a practicing anesthesiologist at the regional trauma center in Mission Viejo, CA. He retired to the Coachella Valley and has been a volunteer registered Medicare Counselor with HICAP for several years. Currently, Dr. Townsend regularly sees HICAP clients at the Palm Springs LGBT Center.

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering D.A.P. TotalCare – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. D.A.P.’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and free HIV and HCV testing. D.A.P.’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. D.A.P. is rated a “Top 20 HIV Charity” by About.com. Visit: www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

D.A.P. Revises HIV Prevention Guidelines

For Immediate Release
April 25, 2017
Contact: Tom Tarr, Director of Client Development
Tel: 760-656-8460
Email: ttarr@desertaidsproject.org

Desert AIDS Project revises its prevention guidelines in light of support for new research

Desert AIDS Project joins other national HIV prevention organizations by embracing a recent policy statement of the National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). That policy titled, “Risk of Sexual Transmission of HIV from Virally Suppressed People Living with HIV” affirms the related scientific evidence and aligns prevention policy with that of many in the public health community.

“Recent research has shown that treating people with HIV and helping them maintain an undetectable viral load (less than 200 copies/ml) prevents the sexual transmission of HIV,” said Bruce Weiss, Director of Community Health at D.A.P. “The studies demonstrated no new transmissions occurred when the HIV positive partner was virally suppressed. This provides an additional prevention strategy for HIV-positive persons and their sexual partners which can also help end new HIV infections.”

In light of this new research, D.A.P. now recommends the following to prevent new HIV infections:

  • 1. Commitment to ongoing treatment for HIV – ongoing treatment for individuals with HIV is vital to the success of this prevention strategy
  • 2. Regular healthcare and viral load testing – staying healthy and regular testing is necessary for individuals utilizing this prevention strategy
  • 3. Steps need to be taken to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
    • Because of rising STI rates in the Coachella Valley, D.A.P. recommends that individuals having sex with more than one partner continue to use condoms. Condoms are the only proven strategy to help prevent new infections of STIs such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
    • Regular STI testing is also recommended at least every three months for those having sex with multiple partners, in order to detect infections early and ensure proper treatment.

“We’re excited about the confirmation of effectiveness that the research provides and the prevention community has embraced,” said David Morris, MD, Medical Director at D.A.P. “But to be effective, it’s important that people commit to taking their medicine as directed, as well as seeing a healthcare professional for regular monitoring and care. Without this commitment, this prevention strategy becomes ineffective.”

“It is important to increase awareness of this prevention strategy,” said Karen Mark, MD, Ph.D., Chief of the Office of AIDS in the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health. “We’ve made great strides in our efforts to prevent new HIV infections. This strategy can play a key role in ending or reducing HIV-related stigma and allow partners to select prevention methods that work best for their relationships.”

For more information about D.A.P.s policy, the NASTAD position, and related research, please visit these pages:

NASTAD Policy: Risk of Sexual Transmission of HIV from Virally Suppressed People Living with HIV
PARTNER Study: How to Interpret the Zero Transmission Results
HPTN 052: Study Summary

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering D.A.P. 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.  D.A.P.’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and free HIV and HCV testing. D.A.P.’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  D.A.P. is rated a “Top 20 HIV Charity” by About.com. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

# # #

Printable version: Desert AIDS Project Press statement Viral Suppression Prevention Strategy 04.25.2017

The Healing Power of Reiki

Looking for ways to relieve stress and increase your total health?  Explore the healing benefits of Reiki.

What is Reiki? Reiki is a Japanese healing technique based on the principle that the Reiki therapist can channel energy from the patient by means of touch to activate the natural healing process of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being. Known for helping to relieve stress and promote healing, Reiki is one of many ways to take care of your total health.

Reiki

During sessions, Reiki practitioners apply the Reiki healing technique by channeling energy into the patients by means of touch to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.

While Reiki is not a stand-alone treatment, it compliments medical treatment in many ways including; helping to increase energy levels, reducing blood pressure, supporting spiritual growth, and helping the body relieve stress.

D.A.P. Total Care is proud to offer free Reiki services by Reiki Master John Strobel at the Client Wellness Services Center to all patients of D.A.P.

Reiki services are available by appointment only on Thursday and Friday of each week between 10:30AM – 12:00PM in the Meditation Room. Please call Curtis Howard 1-760-656-8414 to reserve your Reiki session with John.

Syphilis Rate Rising Significantly in Co …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Bruce Weiss, Director of Community Health
Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.)
Tel:  760-323-2118 x455
Email: bweiss@desertaidsproject.org 

Syphilis Rate Rising Significantly in Coachella Valley as STDs Reach All-Time High in U.S.

Desert AIDS Project urges all sexually-active individuals to protect themselves, test routinely, and seek needed treatment. Gay and bisexual men at especially high risk and should test every 3 months.

PALM SPRINGS, CA, (October 20, 2016) –  Newly-released data from the Riverside University Health System (RUHS) shows that the rate of syphilis in the Coachella Valley is rising significantly. The troubling trend mirrors a just-released report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which shows the number of sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases has hit an all-time high nationally.

Desert AIDS Project and its sexual health clinic, The DOCK, are urging all sexually-active individuals to get tested regularly for STDs, get treatment if needed, and to use condoms to prevent the spread of infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia – particularly if having sex with multiple partners.

Syphilis rates in the Coachella Valley – as high as 192.3 per 100,000 in one zip code – are astronomically and alarmingly higher than the national rate just announced by the CDC as an unprecedented high in the United States:  7.5 per 100,000. The rise of the syphilis rate among local men is of particular local concern. According to the RUHS Public Health report Syphilis Incidence in Coachella Valley, 2015:

  • Syphilis rates more than doubled from 2013 to 2015, from 14.7 to 30.9.per 100,000.
  • Nearly 98% of all cases are among men.
  • The most impacted age group is 40 to 64.
  • In 2013 there were no cases in individuals 65+ old, however, in 2015 there were 6 cases in this age group – potentially signaling a new trend.
  • In 2015, Palm Springs and North Palm Springs continued to have the highest rates by a substantial margin.   Per 100,000 individuals, zip code 92258 had 192.3 reported cases, followed by 92264 with 167.1 cases and 92262 with 165 cases.  These three zip codes also saw large syphilis rate increases from 2013 to 2015.
  • Many Coachella Valley cities saw significant syphilis rate increases between 2013 and 2015.  Exceptions were a drop in cases and rates for Rancho Mirage, and almost all zip codes in Palm Desert, Thousand Palms, Indian Wells and La Quinta.
  • The largest number of cases and increase in rate between 2013 and 2015 were seen among individuals who identified as white, followed by those identifying as Latino/Hispanic.

Based on these findings, gay and bisexual men between 40 to 64 years old who live in Palm Springs or North Palm Springs are at particularly high risk for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections.

According to Dr. David Morris, Chief Medical Officer for Desert AIDS Project, “The data and trends are troubling.  Syphilis sores increase the risk of spreading HIV. We also know that HIV can speed the progression of syphilis – a disease which can cause permanent physical damage.”

Fortunately, individuals can take effective steps to protect themselves from STDs and their harmful effects.  Stated Bruce Weiss, D.A.P.’s Director of Community Health: “The combination of condom use and STD testing is crucial to protecting yourself and to ending the spread of syphilis in our community.”

“Many people will have no symptoms and may not know they’re infected;” he continued.   “Syphilis symptoms can often look like other illnesses.  That’s why regular testing – every three months if you’re sexually active – is so important.”

For individuals taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication, “Remember that PrEP does not protect you from STDs, including syphilis.  Routine use of condoms is effective,” Weiss added.

According to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report just issued by the CDC on October 19, the reported number of STD cases has reached an unprecedented high in the United States. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are the three most commonly reported conditions.

“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild and expand services – or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”

The CDC report stresses that an effective response to the STD epidemic requires engagement from many players.  Specifically, they advise:

  • Providers: make STD screening a standard part of medical care, especially in pregnant women. Integrate STD prevention and treatment into prenatal care and other routine visits.
  • Public: talk openly about STDs, get tested regularly, and reduce risk by using condoms or practicing mutual monogamy if sexually active.
  • Parents and providers: offer young people safe, effective ways to access needed information and services.
  • State and local health departments: continue to direct resources to people hardest hit by the STD epidemic and work with community partners to maximize their impact.

For a link to the RUHS Public Health report Syphilis Incidence in Coachella Valley, 2015, visit The DOCK website www.thedockclinic.org   

For more information from CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, visit www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom.

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is a Federally Qualified Health Center 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.  D.A.P.’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future.  D.A.P. is rated a “Top 20 HIV Charity” by About.com. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.TheDOCKclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

About The DOCK

The DOCK sexual health clinic at Desert AIDS Project provides comprehensive sexual health services, information and support. The clinic’s quick, caring, and confidential services for individuals of all gender identities include: STD testing & treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and free HIV and HEP-C testing.  For more information, please visit www.TheDOCKclinic.org.

New, more convenient hours at The DOCK!

Staying in control of your sexual health just got a whole lot easier!

The DOCK, a sexual health clinic staffed by and situated at Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs, has announced a new, more convenient schedule beginning Tuesday, September 6th, the day after Labor Day.

Our new, more convenient schedule hours will make it easier for people to access the care they need – when they need it.

The new hours will be Monday-Friday from 10:00AM to 6:30PM for all services. The new schedule will make it easier for people to access services after work, or even during their lunch break. As an added convenience, patients can walk in, with no appointment necessary.

The DOCK New Hours

“When our patients ask, we listen,” said David Morris, MD, Medical Director of The DOCK. “For sexual health treatment and prevention services, accessibility and convenience aren’t trivial – they’re key to better health outcomes.”

The DOCK provides STD testing and treatment, free and confidential HIV and Hepatitis C testing, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent the acquisition of HIV.

As the clinic has become better known and more popular, an increasing number of patients and community members have asked the clinic to stay open all day (with no lunch break) and to extend hours into the early evening.

The DOCK is located at 1695 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs. Its unique, trademark entryway is via the loading dock ramp on the south side of the Desert AIDS Project building.

For more information, please visit www.thedockclinic.org.

Hepatitis treatment is as close as The D …

An uptick in rates of the hepatitis virus has attracted new attention to May as Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 as Hepatitis Testing Day. Hepatitis is a growing concern not only nationwide but in Riverside County as well.

Hepatitis is a virus that shows itself in three forms: Hepatitis A (HAV,) Hepatitis B (HBV,) and Hepatitis C (HCV.) All forms prey on the liver and can lead to liver cancer … but each has different causes and modes of transmission. The common element across all three forms is that many people, who are in the position to pass it on, don’t even know they have it.

That’s precisely why we test for Hepatitis, as well as HIV at The Dock, our new sexual health clinic, located on the southeast corner of D.A.P.’s main campus. We test, we treat, and we immediately connect our patients with counseling and care that’s both compassionate and confidential.

Regardless of whether it’s Hepatitis Awareness Month or Hepatitis Testing Day … or any other day of the year … the door to treatment  at The Dock is open from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, no appointment necessary. In addition, the clinic also offers treatment and testing for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and human papillomavirus (HPV.) Well-Woman services at The Dock also include breast and pelvic exams, as well as pap smears.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) about 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HBV while 3.2 million have HCV. Rates for both forms of the Hepatitis virus had been falling locally, but they’re rising again along with a noticeable jump in cases among women. This, according to the county’s 2013 Communicable Disease Report, which also tells us that “Hep C” is the second most prevalent sexually transmitted infection reported in Riverside County – estimating that an alarming 60-70% of chronic Hep C cases will develop chronic liver disease and require liver transplants.

Widespread use of Hep B vaccine has helped curb the spread of that strain. And Hep C is now treatable with drug therapies that aren’t as harsh as they once were. Nevertheless, Riverside County faces challenges in lowering rates of Hep C.

“The Healthy People 2020 objective for acute hepatitis C is 0.2 new cases per 100,000 county residents,” the report says. “Riverside County did not achieve this goal, with 0.3 cases per 100,000 residents in 2013.”

The Dock at Desert AIDS Project aims to reverse that trend.

Made possible by funding from Desert Healthcare District/Echo posible por media de fondos de Desert Healthcare District

Desert AIDS Project opens “The DOCK” …

On Monday, March 16, Desert AIDS Project is opening a new sexual health clinic for men and women called the DOCK.

“The idea for The DOCK came out of our Get Tested Coachella Valley coalition of community partners, which just completed a very successful first year of getting adults and adolescents tested for HIV,” said David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project. “Get Tested Coachella Valley is a ‘Treatment as Prevention’ model, which connects people who test HIV-positive to care and services, benefiting their own health while also making them substantially less likely to transmit HIV to others.”

In addition to HIV testing, The DOCK will later provide testing and treatment for other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and will offer PrEP and PEP medication therapies to help individuals at higher risk of acquiring HIV to safeguard their HIV-negative status. (See below for more information about PrEP and PEP.)

The new clinic will be open Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Appointments can be made by calling 760-992-0492 starting March 16. Free and confidential HIV testing is available on a walk-in basis, with no appointment necessary.

The name of the new clinic stems in part from its unique entryway: the loading dock ramp located on the south side of the Desert AIDS Project building. A second factor is the play on words between “dock” and “doc” (doctor).

The program model for The DOCK was developed in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health’s STD Control Branch, the California Office of AIDS, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “Our intention for The DOCK is to completely address the sexual wellness needs of our local community, regardless of their ability to pay,” said D.A.P. Medical Director Dr. Steven Scheibel, MD, AAHIVS. “We can’t let the lack of insurance coverage be responsible for a greater spread of HIV or any sexually-transmitted infection.”

PrEP? PEP? What is this alphabet soup?

While a cure for HIV and/or AIDS may someday change this, the human immune system can’t rid the body of HIV, once the virus enters. A bout with the flu might be exhausting and uncomfortable, we know that there’s an end in sight, once the virus clears our system. Not so with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

HIV attacks our T-cells – also known as CD-4 cells – using them to make copies of the virus. The good news is that not everyone who becomes infected with HIV will eventually progress to an AIDS diagnosis.

However, if HIV is not properly intercepted through medication and ongoing care, it will destroy so many T-cells that it will advance to AIDS, the final stage of HIV infection.

PrEP – or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – helps guard against HIV infection
PrEP is a way for those who do not have HIV to prevent acquiring the virus by taking a daily pill.  At present, the only PrEP regimen is Truvada – a combination therapy of tenofovir and emtricitabine – used to treat many who are already living with HIV.

PrEP with Truvada has been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as a “powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide an even greater protection than when used alone.” In a high-prevalence-for-HIV area like the Coachella Valley, people who are HIV-negative should carefully consider whether PrEP might be right for them, as a means of remaining virus-free. However, adherence to the daily pill regimen is important and it should always be remembered that PrEP does NOT guard against possible infection from other sexually-transmitted infections, including Hepatitis C.

PEP – or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis – if you think you may have just been exposed to HIV

Similar to PrEP, a PEP regimen involves antiretroviral medications used to treat an HIV-infected person. However in the case of Post-Exposure, these medicines must be taken as soon as possible – but no more than 72 hours – after the person believes s/he may have been exposed to HIV. The two to three medicines used in PEP stop HIV from making copies of itself and spreading through the body.

PEP must be taken for 28 days – but may not guarantee that someone exposed will not become infected with HIV. It is not a substitute for regular use of HIV prevention methods, such as PrEP mentioned above, or the correct and consistent use of condoms. Anyone prescribed PEP will be asked to return for HIV testing at 4-6 weeks, then at three months, and again at six months after the potential exposure to HIV.

Made possible by funding from Desert Healthcare District/Echo posible por media de fondos de Desert Healthcare District