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Monkeypox is an Emergency

A State of Emergency with a Solution: Prioritize LGBTQ+ Health Equity Today  

We went from 1 monkeypox case in May to 5,000+ preventable cases today. I am devastated by how many people are in horrific pain. Pain and suffering could have been avoided had the U.S. followed its own predictions and prepared to respond.

Since the 2003 U.S. monkeypox outbreak, experts predicted another. And as HIV and COVID taught us, an outbreak would dominate in marginalized populations who face barriers to health equity.   

We are now in a state of emergency as declared by WHO (World Health Organization) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.    

The emergency is the rapid spread, but that is not where the emergency ends:   

The emergency is that prior to this outbreak, the US had an effective monkeypox test, effective medications, and an effective vaccine, yet our highest-risk populations still do not have access to it.   

The emergency is that many people, presently infected with monkeypox, are experiencing severe pain; pain so significant that eating and eliminating waste requires pain medication and in some cases, hospitalization.  

The emergency is that even prior to this outbreak, organized political discrimination against LGBTQ+ populations has been steadily increasing.   

DAP Health was founded because many in power failed our community. While AIDS attacked us from one side, apathy, and hatred towards the LGBTQ+ community slowed the response, leaving us alone with a virus that robbed us of loved ones.   

It took until July 23 for the WHO to declare monkeypox a global health emergency - stating it was partly because the disease had not moved out of the primary risk group, men who have sex with men. Sadly, it should come as no surprise the US response remains slow and inadequate for LGBTQ+ community members worried about contracting monkeypox and to the thousands of people who have already been diagnosed.   

The only reason the monkeypox virus has not been contained is that the U.S. has yet to treat this threat to the health of gay, bisexual, and transgender people as the health emergency it is. New York and San Fransisco, both early in the response to HIV and COVID, have declared a state of emergency. Like DAP Health, they have been here before and they know that now is the time for a coordinated and swift response.   

DAP Health, with a patient population of 10,000, has only received 497 doses of vaccine and has yet to receive the TPOXX medication for treatment. Our nation’s LGBTQ+ community health centers, with a history of treating the community’s physical and mental health; with expertise in addressing stigma and discrimination, are most likely to reach those at risk for monkeypox, and yet, we are being overlooked and under-resourced.    

There is a solution to this health emergency:  

LGBTQ+ organizations should be the priority for vaccine supply and medications for treatment; because our approach strengthens the LGBTQ+ community. To end monkeypox, we must confront the discrimination in the US that has enabled this preventable crisis.   

LGBTQ+ health equity goes beyond a “shot in the arm.”  Our approach addresses the health disparities faced by LGBTQ+ communities by incorporating free HIV and STI testing and treatment, free PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) services, and access to affordable primary care, mental health, and substance use recovery.   

Every one of us needs to do our part. Let our elected officials know there is NO EXCUSE for another week of cases doubling while people suffer in excruciating pain. Let our elected officials know we are in a state of emergency and that the time has come to prioritize LGBTQ+ health equity. 

Here is an update about how we are prioritizing the distribution of the doses received and how we continue to respond to the current health emergency.  

DAP Health administered all 160 doses provided in our first allotment from the Riverside Department of Public Health.  

On Friday, DAP Health received 337 additional doses. High-risk DAP Health patients and community members who fit the current priority guidelines received an invitation to schedule an appointment for the JYNNEOS vaccine.   

DAP Health’s monkeypox hotline launched on August 1, and we are adding invitation-only Saturday vaccine clinics beginning August 6.  

DAP Health MPX Hotline: 760-656-8432 or MPOX@daphealth.org   

To stay up to date on the latest developments regarding Monkeypox please visit our landing page: daphealth.org/monkeypox 

 

DAP Health Update on the Monkeypox Virus

DAP Health Update on the Monkeypox Virus  

July 18, 2022

The monkeypox virus outbreak in the United States continues to grow, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists over 1,814 monkeypox cases, 266  of which are in the state of California. 

Last week, we hosted the first conversation about Monkeypox with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Morris. More are being planned. You can watch the first conversation here. 

As cases grow, monkeypox vaccine continues to be in short supply across the country.  

DAP Health is working very closely with local public health departments to advocate for more vaccines for Monkeypox. In the next 6-8 weeks we should have more information about the vaccine availability. Currently, Riverside County has approximately 540 doses of the vaccine.  

The first group of individuals who are eligible for the vaccine are those who have mild to moderate symptoms of monkeypox, such as swollen lymph nodes and prior to skin lesions. These people are eligible for a vaccine. The second group of individuals who are eligible are those who have had skin-to-skin contact with a confirmed case of monkeypox. If you are in either of these categories, you should reach out to your primary care clinician for more information on how you can gain access to a Monkeypox vaccine. While we know that this isn’t the perfect scenario, we are working tirelessly to secure doses of the vaccine and become a partner site to potentially provide the vaccine to individuals who would like to take the vaccine as a pre-exposure prophylaxis health measure. 

Many of our community members have questions about Monkeypox. We’ve created a resource guide to help answer your questions. You can view the page here. We will be updating this page when we receive any new information. Since our founding, we have fought for LGBTQ+ health equity. Monkeypox is currently affecting that community disproportionately and you can expect DAP Health to bring its experience to addressing the outbreak and keeping you updated as new information becomes available. 

DAP Health and Revivals Stores named non …

(Pictured, Rich Ramhoff, CVCC Chair, C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health, DAP Health, and Emily Falappino, CVCC President/CEO)

DAP Health and Revivals Stores named Non-Profit of the year by Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce 

Recognizing the impact DAP Health and Revivals, it’s resale fundraising engine, has had on the community, The Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce (GCVCC) awarded its Non-Profit of the Year Award to both organizations at its 2022 business awards dinner and annual meeting on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells. 

The GCVCC serves as an umbrella organization under which each desert cities’ chambers of commerce belong.  It provides support, advocacy and resources for individuals, organizations, and industries to create opportunities and help further the interests of small businesses. “The chamber is a convener of all people,” said GCVCC President and CEO Emily Falappino, “We help employers with tools and resources so that they become bigger, more successful and contribute to the economy and quality of life as well.”  

This was the first year GCVCC accepted nominations from the broader business community. A committee of staff and key board members reviewed applications and assessed each non-profit organization based on community of impact, range of impact, length of service, measurable footprint, and achievements over the past year.   

“The consensus was that DAP Health has a really long history of serving the community,” said Falappino. “They have a stake and an influence in every single city that we serve. We've seen them grow; we've seen the exponential good. And even despite the pandemic...there's clearly a continued investment into the organization's mission.” 

Since 1984, DAP Health's mission has been to ensure people with HIV and AIDS living in the Coachella Valley lead healthy and happy lives by receiving the comprehensive and compassionate care every human being deserves. DAP Health offers medical and mental healthcare, STI testing and treatment, dentistry, pharmacy, and lab services. A variety of wraparound services enable patients to experience optimal health, including social services, support groups, alternative therapies, and other wellness services. HIV care is provided by the largest team of specialized clinicians in the area. 

“We are honored to be recognized by the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce,” said DAP Health Chief Executive Officer and President David Brinkman. “We are committed to meeting people where they are with what they need and the GCVCC serves as an important conduit in our ability to do so.”  

Added Revival’s Director of Retail Dane Koch, “It’s so gratifying to receive this award. DAP Health now serves over 10,000 clients offering the full spectrum of medical care, housing, behavioral health services, and food assistance. 100% of the sales from Revivals goes directly to funding those services. We really are a community-based health service organization.” 

Opened in1995, Revivals now boasts four well-stocked locations, and a loyal following. From Palm Springs to Indio, savvy shoppers can find great bargains on clothing, housewares, furniture, electronics and much more, all while donating to a worthy cause.  Last year alone, Revivals contributed over $1.5 million to DAP Health. 

“We're just really proud of DAP Health and the Revivals stores,” said Falappino. “They are a really important part of our community. They provide a resource that is necessary in life changing and life giving. And so, it's been awesome to see them continue to grow and thrive. And this is just a salute to all the work they've put in.” 

INDIO ARTISTS HELP MAKE DAP HEALTH’S N …

INDIO ARTISTS HELP MAKE DAP HEALTH’S NEW SEXUAL WELLNESS CLINIC A WELCOMING, SAFE SPACE 

Words by Ellen Bluestein 

May 30, 2022 

When clients arrive at DAP Health’s new sexual wellness clinic in Indio, the first thing they will see is a colorful mural in the waiting room.  Designed by Indio artists Cece Cruz and Evelyn Sofia Rivera, together known as Mujeres Murals, the full-scale artwork creates a warm and familiar environment to help alleviate the anxiety of those seeking services. 

The clinic, located at 81-719 Doctor Carreon Blvd, Suite D in Indio, is set to open on July 11, 2022, and will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. It will offer testing for HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. The clinic will also provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Case management and connections to additional resources will also be available. Testing and treatment are confidential and free of charge. 

To celebrate the opening of the new clinic, DAP Health will host a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., with a tour of the facility. All are invited to attend. 

“We started to do planning a year before the COVID pandemic to address unmet needs in our community and to respond to where we're finding new HIV cases and why new infections are happening to certain members of our community,” said CJ Tobe, director of community health and sexual wellness services. “[We] identified that there's such an unmet need for sexual wellness services, specifically surrounding Indio... The data showed new HIV cases located in the east valley. Latinos with lower income and under the age of 39 are most at risk. So, everything just made sense for us to respond to the need by opening a clinic there.” 

“What was happening is that[clients] weren't doing routine testing, Tobe continued. “They were coming in for treatment which means they're having symptoms. They had to be seen right away. So, it wasn't just regular asymptomatic testing. We also identified through trends that the majority of new HIV cases were in people living under 200% of the federal poverty level. So, we also knew then that there was a cost barrier that may be preventing people in our community from accessing a clinic.” 

At the new Indio clinic, “the patient will be able to come in, they'll be able to see our clinicians... and then they'll be able to get their medication right there too,” said Tobe. “They don't have to go across the street or down the road and maybe run into their cousin or, you know, something like that.” 

Another barrier to service is the discomfort that often accompanies talk of sexuality. “There is a lot of stigma and shame attached to sexual wellness specifically in the Latino community in Indio,” said Tobe. “We're hoping, when we open the doors, that we start reaching the community and establishing trust with people.”   

Part of establishing that trust included enlisting Cruz and Rivera to create the serene scene on the walls of the clinic’s waiting room. “I think once the community learns that Cece and her team created this beautiful mural in the clinic, that it will be welcoming and representative of the community, [it will start] building that trust,” said Tobe. 

While Tobe picked the color palette and some elements for the wall-sized painting, Cruz and Rivera had artistic license to design the rest.  “Both of us are very grateful for how much freedom we've had with this mural,” said Rivera.  “We've been really appreciative of the fact that CJ has been completely open to the ideas and our styles.” 

The scene features a wide range of colors – from browns and blues to pinks and purples - that can often be found in a desertscape. “It's not super bright. It stands out, but it's not aggressive,” said Rivera. Added Cruz, “It’s warm but it’s not dull.  It’s not muted.” 

The overall design concept was a collaborative process. “I really wanted to incorporate that feeling of not just the desert with the fields and the community and the people but also that feeling of nurturing with the tree and the Mother Earth,” said Cruz.  “And so that was my idea of the part that I had sketched.” 

“I really like cactuses,” added Rivera. “I feel like they're a symbol of home. I think that [they are] especially familiar.” 

“We put together sketches but then we got community input as to which sketch, they wanted to go with,” Rivera explained. “We submitted three different sketches and then put them online and asked, ‘okay, which ones do you guys like better? Or do you want them all included?’ And everybody decided they wanted all of them. So now we've done a mixture of the three.” 

Connecting with community is key to how both Cruz and Rivera work. “I think the rapport that we've been able to build with the community, throughout our mural painting is that people enjoy visually what it is that we've created so it's not going to be taken likely, Rivera said. “They trust us, and we trust them. It's mutual.” 

“When I think about the mural...my hopes are that people see it and they feel just warm and welcomed and peace and it's familiar. Like whatever fear and anxieties anybody might be feeling, when they see it, they're like, ‘oh, okay,’ and kind of take a deep breath and say ah,” Cruz said demonstrating a stress-releasing exhalation. 

“We wanted it to feel very welcoming,” she added. “You walk in and you're just like, oh, okay, I feel good here.” 

Indio artists Cecelia Cruz and Evelyn Sogia Rivera, designed the new community mural in the Indio Sexual Wellness Clinic. 

Monkeypox

Anyone can get monkeypox.  It is important we do not create stigma during this current outbreak 

Transmission of monkeypox can occur with skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, but it is not an STI  
 

Since May 13, cases of monkeypox have been reported to The World Health Organization (WHO) from 12 nonendemic countries. The first U.S. case of 2022 was reported last week in Massachusetts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified nine cases of monkeypox across seven U.S. states, officials said Thursday: California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. “The virus is related to smallpox, but is far less lethal,” says Dr. David Morris, DAP Health Chief Medical Officer  

“I believe it is very important that we don’t use the current outbreak to cause stigma toward the LGBTQ communities,” says Dr. Shubha Kerkar, Director of Infectious Diseases at DAP Health. Dr. Kerkar, explains “The reason the current outbreak was first reported in gay and bisexual men is because the diagnosis happened at sexual wellness clinics.” Transmission of monkeypox is neutral to sexual orientation.  

“In some cases, monkeypox lesions can look like herpes or syphilis,” explains Dr. Kerkar. “It is important to clarify that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease. It can spread through skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, when someone has an active rash.”  Individuals may come in for an evaluation of what they think is an STI. Health care providers have been advised by the California Department of Health to consider monkeypox as a possibility in all health care settings, not just STI clinics.  

Transmission  

Monkeypox is known to spread through prolonged close physical contact with someone who has symptoms.  

  • Rash, bodily fluids (such as pus or blood from skin lesions), and scabs are particularly infectious.  
  • Respiratory droplets, ulcers, lesions, or sores in the mouth can also be infectious, meaning the virus can spread through saliva.  
  • Clothing, bedding, towels, or objects like eating utensils/dishes, that have been contaminated with the virus, can infect others. 
  • People who closely interact with someone who is infectious, including health workers, household members, and sexual partners are at greater risk of infection.  
  • The virus can also spread from someone who is pregnant to the fetus from the placenta, or from an infected parent to child during or after birth through skin-to-skin contact.  

It is unclear whether people who do not have symptoms can spread the disease.  

Symptoms  

Symptoms include rash, headache, fever, muscle and body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and back pain. The CDC recommends that anyone with a new or unexplained rash get checked by a medical professional.   

Prevention  

Monkeypox can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact which includes sexual contact. Prevention includes avoiding physical contact with someone who knows they have monkeypox or who has a rash or skin lesions that may be associated with monkeypox.  

All health care providers are advised to be aware of monkeypox symptoms and if symptoms present, test accordingly.

Testing  

If monkeypox is suspected, diagnostic samples must be collected from the roof or fluid of vesicles, pustules, or dry crusts. Samples are sent to the CDC to confirm a suspected case.  

Treatment  

“Most patients will recover in 2 to 4 weeks and will not require treatment,” says Dr. Kerkar. “However, we look to health authorities for guidance and further information on prevention and even treatment in certain situations”  
  

Trusted Sources of News and Updates:  

California Department of Health  

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  

World Health Organization (WHO)  

LGBTQ+ Care at DAP Health

Meet Dr. Felipe Saavedra 

LGBTQ+ Care at DAP Health 

One of our Primary Care Physicians is Dr. Felipe Saavedra, an HIV Specialist, and Family Medicine physician who has been working with the LGBTQ+ community since 2009. He completed a fellowship in LGBTQ Healthcare at UCLA in 2021, becoming the first Latinx physician specifically trained to care for the diverse population of the LGBTQ+ community. 

In 2015, Dr. Saavedra joined a pre-residency program at UCLA, where he also completed his Family Medicine residency in 2020. During his training, he educated himself and his colleagues on critical health care issues impacting LGBTQ+ individuals and improved the lives of underserved patients throughout L.A. County, many of whom were Spanish-speaking. As a Clinical Instructor at UCLA, Dr. Saavedra created a curriculum for first-year medical students exposing them to various LGBTQ+ topics and continues to mentor clinicians and trainees today. 

The training Dr. Saavedra received at UCLA, both in family medicine and as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Fellow, was foundational to the doctor he is today. "It was there that I truly learned how diverse our LGBTQ+ community is—well beyond HIV/AIDS," he says. "I developed deep and meaningful relationships with trans and non-binary youth and adults at the UCLA Gender Health program, which forever left an imprint on my practice. In the end, I want to see patients succeed, regardless of the medical and social challenges." 

Here, Dr. Saavedra answers questions regarding the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ care at DAP Health and the many wellness options available to our clients. 

Q: The LGBTQ+ population has some unique care concerns that are important to discuss with a provider. Could you highlight some of the LGBTQ+ health care services that are available at DAP Health? 

A: DAP Health offers whole-person health services to LGBTQ+ individuals. We deliver physical, behavioral, emotional, and social services. On the medical side, this includes routine primary care and specialties like Infectious Disease, LGBTQ+ Healthcare, and Psychiatry; HIV/STI testing and PrEP; gender health and transgender care; and high-resolution anoscopy (HRA). 

Q: What information can you share with LGBTQ+ patients—many of whom often avoid health care settings because of past negative experiences—so they know their visits to DAP Health will be positive and they'll be met with affirming care? 

A: DAP Health is recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for being a top performer in providing LGBTQ+ care. More than that, many of our medical providers—and also many of the clinical staff—belong to the LGBTQ+ community so we know the importance of honest and welcoming care.  

Q: Are there ongoing efforts at DAP Health to expand the services available to LGBTQ+ patients? 

A: DAP Health is a vital part of the Coachella Valley LGBTQ+ community and a leader in LGBTQ+ healthcare. We are present at nearly every large social event in the community spreading the word about our services and support for the LGBTQ+ Community. 

Q: Transgender individuals often encounter situations where their medical needs are ignored or denied. What procedures and policies does DAP Health have in place that help allay these fears? 

A: Patients at DAP Health have access to specialists trained in gender health at groundbreaking world-class institutions. Knowledgeable, affirming, and sensitive clinicians can help with transitioning, hormone replacement, mental health, community services, etc. DAP Health is always an affirming space and we recognize the unique needs of the gender diverse and trans communities. 

Q: In general, can you share your thoughts on why seeing an LGBTQ+ competent and trained clinician is important to members of that community? 

A: Even today, med students get limited training on LGBTQ-specific concerns and how to create a welcoming and non-judgmental space. Health outcomes are better when LGBTQ+ individuals feel affirmed and heard as individuals and not as a group. It's critical that the entire care team, reflected by the community we serve, is educated about and committed to LGBTQ+ issues. Removing barriers to access to health care in the LGBTQ+ community saves lives for the diverse population of the Coachella Valley.  

Reproductive Care is Health Care

The Intersection of LGBTQ Health Care and Reproductive Rights  

Prioritizing Patients Over Politics 

DAP Health is an advocacy-based humanitarian organization that believes women’s rights are human rights. Women played a critical role in our founding and continue to help lead our organization today. 

DAP Health stands in support of sexual and reproductive health care for women -- whether born cisgender, trans, non-binary, or lesbian.  

DAP Health supports a woman’s right to choose. We believe all women should receive access to health care tailored to their needs, not policies or politics. We believe that health care access for LGBTQ individuals and reproductive health care are uniquely linked because challenges to each are often based on political or ideological arguments that fail to prioritize patient-centered care. 

For 38 years, DAP Health has been advancing LGBTQ health care. First by focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, then on testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and most recently on gender-affirming care. We continue to expand our ability to provide culturally competent primary care and mental health care services.  

We see health outcomes improve when barriers like shame are removed. And we see the impact of anti-LGBTQ legislation on our community's mental health. We advocate for stigma-reducing person-centric language while providing patient-centered care, free from judgment. 

Access matters. According to the World Health Organization, lack of access to safe, affordable, timely, and respectful abortion care, and the stigma associated with abortion, pose detrimental risks to women’s physical and mental well-being throughout their lives.  

The Federal Policy Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Julianna Gonen, wrote in 2019: "The movements for reproductive freedom and LGBTQ equality share deeply linked interests and concerns. We are all seeking control over our own bodies – the freedom to decide whether to become or remain pregnant, whether and with whom to have intimate relationships, and whether to seek medical care to help our bodies align with our gender identities. We seek the freedom to form our families on our own terms – to partner with and marry whom we love, to have children or not, and to live as our true selves as determined by us, not by someone else." 

The LGBTQ Community Finds Care at Reproductive Wellness Centers  

In Palm Springs, the LGBTQ community has enjoyed affirming health care at DAP Health since 1984. But in rural areas across California, and the nation, that same community often turns to reproductive wellness centers for judgment-free access to routine and preventative HIV and STI testing and treatment; gender-affirming care, and services related to reproductive healthcare.  

Roe v Wade and Marriage Equality  

We as a grassroots organization, founded in part because of denied access to health care and discrimination, firmly and ardently support the rights of every individual to make decisions based on their own personal needs. 

If the court does indeed overturn Roe v Wade, legal advocates say it has implications for other rights rooted in privacy, such as the rights pertaining to private sexual activity, and marriage equality.  

This includes the 2015 SCOTUS Obergefell v. Hodges ruling which affirmed that the Constitution grants same-sex couples equal protection and equal rights under the law. These rights cover access to employer-funded medical insurance coverage for same-sex couples and their dependents, family medical leave, and hospital visitation rights.  

Why DAP Health Focuses on Culturally Competent Care 

LGBTQ people experience worse health outcomes than the population overall due to barriers including high rates of health care discrimination, stigma, and humiliation; all of which are compounded by racism and poverty. 

Delayed preventive and medical care directly impact health outcomes for the LGBTQ community. Removing barriers to care while standing alongside our partners in reproductive health is the vital work that remains to be done to improve the health and well-being of everyone in our community. 

We Dined Out For Life…Together

On April 28 We Dined Out For Life...Together.

Sixty-Eight locally owned establishments support DAP Health

Participating establishments, restaurants, bars, and bakeries, donated all or part of their gross sales from the day. All funds stay in Greater Palm Springs to support DAP Health’s work to reduce HIV stigma and provide access to HIV care, prevention, and testing.

Elizabeth Cervantes and her husband Alberto own Carousel Bakery.  Her reason for participating this year was very simple and inspiring. She said, "We want to support everyone in our community". 

The founder of Lulu California Bistro, Jerry Keller got up early to talk with NBC Palm Springs about his family's reasons for supporting DAP Health, "It's just the most powerful charity in this valley that takes care of people. What I love is the fact that it keeps evolving and the new focus is taking care of the whole valley".

DAP Health joined forces with community partners to help spread the word that eating in greater Palm Springs is more popular and more important than ever. This year was the perfect way to reconnect with old favorites or choose among a variety of top-rated eateries that recently opened. 

Pride in Community 

It will take a few weeks for all of the participating establishments to report what they raised, but the last time restaurants and community members came together in support of Dining Out For Life in 2019, the top three fundraising restaurants in North America were all based in Palm Springs raising $307,000. This is a powerful story about generous restaurants and our local community support. The event generates community awareness of HIV/AIDS and supports DAP Health’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Growing Need for HIV Care and Prevention  

DAP Health continues growing to meet the demand for access to care created by barriers to health in the Coachella Valley. Efforts are underway to increase its capacity from serving 10,000 patients annually to 25,000 patients.  

In 2021, fear of COVID caused many people to put health on hold by staying home. DAP Health created new ways of keeping them connected to HIV testing and care with:  

  • 8,182 administered HIV tests at our campus and in our mobile clinic 

  • 566 HIV self-test kits mailed to homes  

  • 53 patients were welcomed into HIV care immediately after testing positive  

  • 187 people resuming antiretroviral treatment (ART) after lapses 

  • 351 patients accessing PrEP for the first time 

  • 22,500 condoms made available through our Condom Club  

 

DAP Health Director of Brand Marketing, Steven Henke spoke with the owner of LuLu's California Bistro, Jerry Keller, about his families support of DAP Health and Dining Out For Life.

About Growth at DAP Health 

The Vision Forward strategy details the organization's expansion of its physical footprint through the construction of additional primary care, mental health, addiction, and dentistry clinics — not to mention additional affordable housing units. The goal - to strengthen DAP Health’s safety net for those who lack access to the care they deserve. Find out more at daphealth.org/visionforward 

DAP Health provides a sense of community for many people living with HIV, a health condition requiring ongoing medical management and commonly stigmatized by society and many in the health care profession.  

“At DAP Health, you don’t wonder if you belong,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “You just feel it.”   

Isolation is dangerous for people living with HIV, but DAP Health offers opportunities to choose something different than being alone.  

Michael O’Neil compliments being a DAP Health patient with volunteering on its Client Advisory Board, and helping other patients get the most they can out of DAP Health.  

“DAP has worked on my teeth, my body, my mind,” Michael says.  “Now, DAP Health’s given me goals and some sense of self again.”   

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs was sponsored by Subaru, Bank of America, The Desert Sun, NBC Palm Springs, Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, and Road Runner Print & Ship.  

About Dining Out For Life 

Each year, more than 50 local HIV service organizations partner with 2,400+ participating restaurants, 4,100+ volunteers, and 300,000+ diners to raise over $4.5 million for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and Canada. Best part? All funds raised through a city’s Dining Out For Life event stay in that city to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

Launched in 1991, Dining Out For Life® is a trademarked North American fundraiser held annually in more than 50 cities across the United States and Canada; Dining Out for Life raised more than $4 million for AIDS Service Organizations in past years. 2022 marks DAP Health’s 17th year participating in the event. 

Dining Out For Life national board member, Brett Klein explains the importance of the annual event.

A Goodbye to Dr. Tulika Singh

A Goodbye to Dr. Tulika Singh

Singh hopes to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients

Dr. Tulika Singh is leaving DAP Health, after serving as Director of Research and Associate-Chief Medical Officer for five years. She is beginning a fellowship program at The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She plans to become Board Certified in Integrative Medicine before returning to patient care.  

“I hope to create a fusion practice for people with HIV and non-HIV patients,” she says, “Incorporating alternative and conventional medicine to offer them the best care possible.” 

 While at DAP Health, she received FACP & FIDSA honors, given to Internist and Infectious Disease MDs for exceptional work. She also led groundbreaking research in new antiretroviral long-term use injectables. And she helped update HIV Primary Care guidelines for IDSA/HIVMA, used by thousands of clinicians in the U.S. 

 Dr. Singh is certainly not leaving conventional medicine behind. This Board-Certified HIV Specialist and Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine Physician says she wants to go even further to help make people well.  

“It is important that I finally pay attention to the other side of medicine,” she says.  “If conventional medicine was the only answer, then why are we so unhealthy in our country?” 

Integrative medicine uses conventional science-based approaches, such as drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes. But it also utilizes wellness practices and non-Western medicines. It calls for including behavioral and emotional health in treatment, and for looking at non-medical factors affecting a patient’s health.     

“It is a completely different ballgame,” than traditional medicine, says Dr. Singh. “It includes taking time to get to the ‘why’ of a patient’s illness and addressing it.” 

DAP Health patients utilize wellness and social services in a dedicated wing on the campus, a practice developed when alternative and holistic therapies were the only options for people with HIV in the 1980s.  

“Long-term HIV survivors are so resilient and strong,” she says.  “I have utmost respect and admiration for their journey.” 

Dr. Singh has been practicing HIV specialty care since 2009.  

Although antiretroviral therapy is a modern miracle, many patients need help managing pain, decreasing stress, and maintaining life balance. 

“I really appreciate the multiple alternative medicine options that DAP Health patients have access to, like acupuncture, massage, yoga, reiki, and physical therapy all under one roof,” says Dr. Singh. “I see how much that has helped them.” 

Understanding the value of non-Western and alternative healing methods comes naturally to her, given her Indian parents both were specialists. She still remembers the advice her father gave her when she sought his blessing for her attending medical school.   

“Go and learn your modern medicine,” he said, “But you’ll learn Ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy have their place.” 

25 years later,  says Dr. Singh, “and he’s right!”  

Inspired by Patients and Coworkers During Pandemic 

“The resilience and adaptability in our patients throughout this have been so inspiring,” she says. 

 Dr. Singh worked to keep her patients engaged in their health during COVID lockdowns, ushering in telehealth and Virtual Visits when coming to the medical offices was impossible. During the worst days of the pandemic, DAP Health patients received uninterrupted and ongoing care because Dr. Singh and her team made connecting with technology painless for patients.  

“COVID slowed us down, but it didn’t stop us,” she says. “We got on the phones and computer monitors and we took care of patients.”   

Finding a way to keep medical care going during COVID, she says, is credited to the flexibility shown by patients, DAP Health leadership and her fellow medical staff.  

“We came together, and we became more resilient and caring, more than we were ever before,” she says. “It was an exciting as well as a humbling experience.” 

Dining Out For Life Returns April 28

2022 Dining Out For Life is Thursday, April 28th 

Make One Meal Matter - Dine Out | End HIV 

Appetites are building for Thursday, April 28, when Dining Out For Life (DOFL) happens all day at restaurants, bars, and bakeries across greater Palm Springs. For 17 years, this event has helped fund DAP Health as it works to reduce HIV stigma and provide access to HIV care, prevention, and testing. Participating businesses donate all or part of their gross sales from the day. All funds raised stay in Greater Palm Springs to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

More information about DOFL, participating establishments, volunteering, and sponsoring can be found at daphealth.org/DOFL/ 

DAP Health joined forces with community partners to help spread the word that eating in greater Palm Springs is more popular than ever. This year’s DOFL is the perfect way to reconnect with old favorites or choose among a variety of top-rated eateries that have recently opened.  

This year’s promotional videos feature local personality Kelly McQueen, aka DJ Mod Girl, capturing the excitement and satisfaction of eating all three meals of the day— breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a cocktail or two—at DOFL participating restaurants and bars on Thursday. You can view them on the DAP Health Youtube Channel 

 

 

The Palms Springs Show with Jacob Cunningham created a multipart series that explores eateries in the Palm Springs area, just in time to plan for the big day. You can tune in here: youtube.com/c/PalmSpringsShow 

 

Growing Need for HIV Care and Prevention  

DAP Health continues growing to meet the demand for access to care created by barriers to health in the Coachella Valley. Efforts are underway to increase its capacity from serving 10,000 patients annually to 25,000 patients.  

In 2021, fear of COVID caused many people to put health on hold by staying home. DAP Health created new ways of keeping them connected to HIV testing and care with:  

  • 8,182 administered HIV tests at our campus and in our mobile clinic 

  • 566 HIV self-test kits mailed to homes  

  • 53 patients were welcomed into HIV care immediately after testing positive  

  • 187 people resuming antiretroviral treatment (ART) after lapses 

  • 351 patients accessing PrEP for the first time 

  • 22,500 condoms made available through our Condom Club  

DAP Health provides a sense of community for many people living with HIV, a health condition requiring ongoing medical management and commonly stigmatized by society and many in the health care profession.  

“At DAP Health, you don’t wonder if you belong,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health CEO. “You just feel it.”   

Isolation is dangerous for people living with HIV, but DAP Health offers opportunities to choose something different than being alone.  

Michael O’Neil compliments being a DAP Health patient with volunteering on its Client Advisory Board, and helping other patients get the most they can out of DAP Health.  

“DAP has worked on my teeth, my body, my mind,” Michael says.  “Now, DAP Health’s given me goals and some sense of self again.”   

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs is sponsored by Subaru, Bank of America, Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa/Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Road Runner Print & Ship, The Desert Sun, and NBC Palm Springs 

Pride in Community 

The last time restaurants and community members came together in support of Dining Out For Life was in 2019. The top three fundraising restaurants in North America were all based in Palm Springs. 83 local restaurants raised $307,000 during Dining Out for Life 2019. Greater Palm Springs is the smallest participating market but ranked second in overall fundraising among the 50 participating cities across the United States – raising more funds than cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and Phoenix. This is a powerful story about generous restaurants and our local community support. The event generates community awareness of HIV/AIDS and supports DAP Health’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of those living with HIV/AIDS. 

About Growth at DAP Health 

The Vision Forward strategy details the organization's expansion of its physical footprint through the construction of additional primary care, mental health, addiction, and dentistry clinics — not to mention additional affordable housing units. The goal - to strengthen DAP Health’s safety net for those who lack access to the care they deserve. Find out more at daphealth.org/visionforward 

About Dining Out For Life 

Each year, more than 50 local HIV service organizations partner with 2,400+ participating restaurants, 4,100+ volunteers, and 300,000+ diners to raise over $4.5 million for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and Canada. Best part? All funds raised through a city’s Dining Out For Life event stay in that city to provide help and hope to people living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

Launched in 1991, Dining Out For Life® is a trademarked North American fundraiser held annually in more than 50 cities across the United States and Canada; Dining Out for Life raised more than $4 million for AIDS Service Organizations in past years. 2022 marks DAP Health’s 17th year participating in the event. 

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