• Sexual Wellness Services

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

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About …

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About DoxyPEP

Words by Daniel Hirsch

 

A hefty dose of antibiotics. A big syringe in the derrière. Getting treated for an STI is not fun — to say nothing of the symptoms and risks involved with contracting one like syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia. With the CDC reporting rising numbers — gonorrhea is up 11% over the last five years, syphilis is up 79% — risk of infection is on the rise.

 

However, clinicians around the country, spurred by recently released guidance from the CDC, are recommending the antibiotic doxycycline as a means of post-exposure prophylaxis (DoxyPEP for short) to prevent the spread of STIs. I spoke with DAP Health Chief of Community Health C.J. Tobe about this prevention strategy.

 

Let’s start with the basics. What is DoxyPEP?

DoxyPEP, or doxycycline, is a 200 milligram pill that can be taken within 24 to 72 hours after sex. It reduces a person’s chance of contracting either chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis by up to 70%. Doxycycline has been around for quite some time and is used to treat STIs and acne.

 

How sexually active do you need to be to justify a prescription?

It’s going to look different depending on a person’s lifestyle and the conversation with their provider. For example, if you have sex Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, you can take DoxyPEP that Monday morning and you’re good. Let’s say you’re having sex five times a week, then you should probably talk to your doctor about switching to DoxyPrEP.

 

And what’s DoxyPrEP?

DoxyPrEP would be taking 100 milligrams of doxycycline daily as a preventative measure. That’s typically for people who either want to make sure they’re protected, or they’re having frequent sex, or they may be a sex worker.

 

Are there side effects? Isn’t doxy tough on the GI tract?

A lot of the side effects that get reported are GI issues. So we recommend people take the medication with food or a carbonated drink. When people take a higher dose of doxycycline, like 200 milligrams twice a day, the side effects increase. If you go on DoxyPrEP, that’s just 100 milligrams once a day. And I can tell you it’s such a low dose that the majority of folks don’t have side effects.

 

One of my worst nightmares, and it’s one shared by the World Health Organization, is that an STI becomes resistant to antibiotics. Is that a concern with people regularly taking doxy?

Part of the medical community is hesitant to embrace this strategy because they don’t know what could happen in terms of drug resistance. The other half are saying, “We need to get people on it right now because it’s an important preventative tool.” There’s always going to be a risk of drug resistance when people don’t follow the dosing recommendation of a doctor. As a public health person seeing the rise in STIs, I think a patient who is having sex should have that conversation with their doctor and see if DoxyPEP is right for them. Personally, I’ve been on doxy since 2020 and it’s been a lifesaver.

Feeding a Family on a Budget

Feeding a Family on a Budget

Here are eight tips for smart shopping.

Words by Maggie Downs

 

Feeding a family while on a budget can be challenging. But with strategic planning and smart shopping, it’s possible to provide nutritious meals without breaking the bank, says registered dietician Robert Davis from the Comprehensive Perinatal Services program at DAP Health. Here are his tips to maximize your budget while keeping your family well-fed.

 

Meal Planning

Start by planning your meals for the week ahead. Take stock of what ingredients you already have on hand and build your meals around those. Plan meals that use similar ingredients to minimize waste and save money. “Choose just one day to do your planning and shopping so you know what you have and can shop for just enough to take you through the week,” Davis says.

 

Shop With a List

Make a grocery list before heading to the store — and stick to it. This will help prevent impulse buys and ensure you have everything you need to prepare your planned meals. “Don’t get distracted by sale items,” Davis says. “So many times, the sale items are tricky at getting us in the door at the grocery store, but they tend to be the highly processed foods, like cookies or chips or crackers. Some of these foods won’t provide as much nutrition, and they might even make us more hungry.”

 

Don’t Skip the Frozen Aisle

Frozen produce is nutritious, readily available, and can be even more economical than buying fresh. It can also save time in the kitchen, since the produce doesn’t require trimming and washing.

 

Embrace Meatless Meals

Incorporating vegetarian meals into your weekly menu is an excellent way to save money. Beans, lentils, tofu, and eggs are all affordable sources of protein that can be used in place of more expensive meats and dairy. “Non-animal foods are very nutritious and budget-friendly as well,” Davis says. “Consider two days a week having a family meal that doesn’t involve animal proteins.”

 

Shop Seasonally

Purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season, as they tend to be less expensive and more flavorful. Visit the farmers market for fresh produce that supports local growers.

 

Buy in Bulk

Stocking up on staple items can save you money in the long run. Look for deals on larger quantities, and consider joining a wholesale club to access greater savings. “Some of the shelf-stable grain options can be created faster than going out and getting something from a restaurant,” Davis says. He recommends keeping the pantry packed with brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or quinoa, which are all high in fiber, offer B vitamins, and can be cooked quickly with some veggies and a protein.

 

Utilize Leftovers

Don’t let leftovers go to waste! Get creative and repurpose leftover ingredients into new meals. For example, leftover roasted vegetables can be added to salads or turned into a hearty soup. Davis likes myplate.gov for recipe ideas.

 

Cook From Scratch

Pre-packaged and convenience foods are often more expensive than cooking from scratch. Invest in basic ingredients, and learn to prepare simple meals at home. Not only will this save you money, but the time spent with family can be priceless.

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs …

Annual Philanthropic Foodie Event Happens Thursday, April 25

 

DAP Health participates in the one-day North American gastronomic fundraiser for the 19th year.

 

 

Dining Out For Life® — the annual, North American foodie fundraising event that has collected more than nearly 100 million dollars for community-based organizations that serve people living with or impacted by HIV since its inception in 1991 — will take place in Palm Springs and across the Coachella Valley on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Every year since 2005, Greater Palm Springs has participated in the all-day/all-night affair on behalf of DAP Health. And on each of those occasions, locals, snowbirds, and tourists have swelled with pride and come out in droves to raise much-needed funds while enjoying the generosity of participating local restaurants, bars, cafés, and bakeries that donate anywhere from 30 to 110% of their entire day’s and/or evening’s receipts — not just the profits — to the legendary effort.

Thanks to the generous support of participating restaurants, volunteers, and community members, Greater Palm Springs perennially places in the top three successful markets in the country. In 2023, 72 desert establishments participated to raise more than $270,000 — more than San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and other large urban centers.

With more than 12,000 local supporters expected to dine out for life at breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and/or late night this year, the 2024 goal is for Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs to grab the number one spot.

Eager participants are urged to visit daphealth.org/dofl, make reservations well in advance, and prepare to satisfy their hunger and thirst as many times as possible on April 25 to beat the North American record right here in our own back yard. If their favorite eatery hasn’t yet made its participation public, diners should speak up and urge the powers that be to sign up ASAP.

For the second year in a row, on the night before — from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. — DAP Health will host a Bar Crawl on Arenas Road in Palm Springs that will serve as the official kickoff of DOFLGPS 2024. Drag performer Jackett Knightley, the event’s special ambassador, will “Pied Piper” patrons from bar to bar, where DAP Health volunteers will provide proof of participation by punching each revealer’s Bar Crawl bingo card.  

DOFL National’s website states that 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. The 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.”

“Because we were founded 40 years ago as a response to the AIDS crisis, Dining Out For Life has always been of supreme importance to DAP Health’s staff and patients,” says CEO David Brinkman. “Since our recent tremendous expansion has allowed us to increase our award-winning HIV/AIDS care from three to five of our 25 clinics, this annual event is more important to us than ever.”

To register as a Dining Out For Life in-restaurant volunteer ambassador on April 25 — or to sign on as a participating establishment, please contact Bruce Benning at [email protected] or 760.320.7854.

Participating Restaurants at Press Time

1501 Uptown Gastropub

Aspen Mills Bakery & Café

Barracks Bar

Bongo Johnny’s

Carousel Bakery

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen Palm Desert

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen Palm Springs

Chicken Ranch

Clandestino

Copley’s on Palm Canyon

Cork & Fork

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge

El Mirasol at Los Arboles

El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana

El Patio Palm Springs

Elmer’s

FARM

Gelato Granucci

Grand Central

Heirloom Craft Kitchen

Impala Bar & Grill Nightclub

Johannes

Johnny Costa’s Ristorante

Kaiser Grille

Le Donne Cucina Italiana

Lulu California Bistro

Palm Greens Café

Purple Room

Spencer’s Restaurant at the Mountain

Tac/Quila

The Front Porch

Toucan’s

Townie Bagels

Trio Restaurant

Willie’s Modern Fare

Zin American Bistro

Dining Out For Life Greater Palm Springs 2024 Sponsors at Press Time

Steve Tobin, Johnny Krupa, and The Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation

Media Sponsors

Alpha Media

KESQ ABC News Channel 3

KGAY 106.5 & 92.1, GayDesertGuide.LGBT and 103.1 MeTVfm

NBC Palm Springs

High-Flying Volunteer

                         Star DAP Health volunteer Jim Gonzales and fashion icon Donna Karan.

High-Flying Volunteer

Jim Gonzales has been all over the globe, but there’s no place like DAP Health.

Words by Kent Black

It might be said that Jim Gonzales is used to the thin air of high altitudes. The Raton, New Mexico native (elev. 6680 feet) worked for Frontier and United Airlines as a flight attendant for 37 years, jetting all over the world to favorite destinations such as Barcelona and Sydney. “I much preferred flying to being in an office,” he says from his lovely home near the Parker Palm Springs. “You get on the airplane, do your job, be nice, and then go home.”

When Gonzales retired in 2015, he and his late husband moved to the desert. Having volunteered for his union for the Colorado AIDS Project, he reached out to DAP Health to see what he could do to help. The nonprofit obliged. His first assignment was to help work the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, overseeing the silent auction. “I was really nervous as heck about it,” he admits, “but we ended up doing really well.”

Since then, his volunteer portfolio has grown to include duties commensurate with his welcoming and personable disposition. Each January, he donates his time at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

At DAP Health, he helps with fundraising for the organization’s Partners For Life major donor program, its annual Health Equity Walk, and the client Thanksgiving feast. He’s also one of the rotating volunteers who guides the monthly Impact Hour, where guests are led on a behind-the-scenes tour of the DAP Health campus and introduced to its programs and services. “It’s really impressive. Especially when we show them the 61-unit apartment building going up,” he says. “And there’s always a client present to talk about their journey and how they got there.”

Since making Palm Springs his home, Gonzales says, “I have been afforded the opportunity to work with and meet many giving and wonderful people who are also committed to the mission of DAP Health. Helping everyone who has a need … what could be better?”

And, of course, he’s always available for The Chase. Last year, he had the honor of escorting fashion designer and philanthropist Donna Karan when she was honored with DAP Health’s Equity Award. As a seasoned awards escort, what fashion icon does he hope to guide along the red carpet in the future? Perhaps Norma Kamali? “Oh, no,” he says. “I’m hoping for Tom Ford.”

To learn more about how to become a volunteer at DAP Health—at Revivals thrift stores, at special events, or on campus—please click here.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About …

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Poppers

Words by Daniel Hirsch

 

Poppers. Not only are they a staple of disco dance floors, sex shops, and — more recently — gay internet memes, but openly queer pop star Troye Sivan recently placed them front and center in the mainstream by openly paying homage to them with his summer 2023 smash hit “Rush,” a song title that not-so-coincidentally is the name of a beloved brand of poppers.

But what exactly are poppers? What risks do they present users? And how can these risks be mitigated? I spoke with DAP Health Chief of Community Health C.J. Tobe and asked all of the tough questions.

 

What are poppers?

C.J. Tobe: Basically, poppers is the casual name for a liquid inhalant. Most people are probably familiar with using poppers on the dance floors in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Then they transitioned into being extremely useful during sex. There are four different chemicals that can make up poppers [amyl nitrite, isopropyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, and pentyl nitrite].

 

Why do people do poppers?

Because they feel good. They make sex even more enjoyable. It also helps relax people. So people who may have sex anxiety or need “liquid courage” (like we talk about with alcohol) may find poppers helpful.

 

What actually happens to your body when you use poppers?

When you inhale poppers, your blood vessels are going to expand, and it’s then going to increase the blood flow and oxygen level within your veins. So that’s what makes it feel euphoric. It’s like a rush, essentially. But while all that is happening, it’s also gonna decrease your blood pressure. Obviously, people with heart conditions are definitely advised to be very, very cautious.

 

Speaking of being cautious, if one were to do poppers, is there any way to do them more safely?

Probably don’t use them alone, because using them will increase your blood flow, which will then lower your blood pressure. Just in the event that you do pass out, you don’t want to be alone. So … poppers and porn? Not the best idea.

A lot of people who use poppers, especially during sex, are also taking erectile dysfunction medicine. That’s an added risk for decreasing blood pressure, which can eventually cause someone to pass out — potentially even vomit and die as well.

 

Are there any other risks to consider?

Generally, some research shows that using poppers can put you at a higher risk of getting an STI, including HIV. Everyone should regularly be screened for STIs and HIV. We also recommend considering being on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent HIV, and/or on DoxyPrEP or DoxyPEP to prevent STIs.

Next one’s for the bottoms: Poppers make sex more enjoyable, but they’ll also give you a high, where you become dizzy and you don’t know exactly what’s going on. You could put yourself in a vulnerable position, where someone could take advantage of you. They could tie you up, or do a “booty bump” [insert unwanted drugs into your rectum]. It just makes you less aware of your surroundings, which also could increase the possibility of something negative happening.

 

What about the dreaded, so-called “poppers nose,” (aka chemical burns in one’s nostrils)?

My advice to prevent this would be to inhale through your mouth. Just like a cigarette [without putting your lips on the bottle]. It bypasses actually going up through your nostrils and won’t give you a headache. I learned that from an expert who reps a national poppers brand.

 

Can poppers be addictive?

There’s little research to prove or disprove the addictive effects. However, from a cognitive behavioral perspective, anything can become addictive, especially agents that produce pleasure, promote escapism, or assist in numbing.

Poppers create a sense of euphoria, so someone can very well become accustomed to this experience while having sex, and require it to allow for a full sense of pleasure due to the association. However, ultimately, physiological dependence? No. 

I would add to this: It is very much recognized as a relapse trigger for those in recovery. The erotic experience can create what is referred to as “euphoric recall,” which directly sets off a chain of thought and behavior patterns. So related to addiction, it is definitely high-risk. 

 

How come poppers are sometimes sold with code names like VCR cleaner or tar remover? Why the code names? Are poppers legal?

From my last understanding, it’s illegal to consume nitrite, as well as some of the things that go into poppers for recreational use. So, when you would go into a store, they’re sometimes number coded: “I want number two, I want number eight, I want the yellow or the red.” Legally, we’re not really allowed to state that you were there to get poppers in a sex shop or store. It’s legal to sell it, but it should not be used recreationally.

 

Anything else to add?

I know this is going to sound very corny, but talk to your doctor! I know it’s so basic to people. We can Google all day… But, ultimately, just tell your doctor you want to do poppers. Or let them know you’ve been doing poppers for 10 years. They can look at your medication list for any potential risks and ensure you are receiving sexual wellness support.

I think the more education and knowledge we have around health matters, the better. Even if your doctor may not be culturally competent on poppers, you can start that conversation to make them curious. Get them educated on poppers so they can help guide and educate some of their other patients.

And I just have to add, here at DAP Health, we are very culturally competent. We all know all about poppers. And we provide service without stigma, shame, or judgment. You can always ask your DAP Health provider anything.

 

Image courtesy of Not So Innocent adult entertainment store, 2100 North Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Desert Care Network Donates $2.5 Million …

DESERT CARE NETWORK DONATES $2.5 MILLION TO DAP HEALTH IN SUPPORT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The generous gift, part of DAP Health’s Vision Forward campus expansion, will go toward programs and services for residents of the organization’s second on-campus housing complex, Vista Sunrise II, enabling residents to access lifesaving care in their own backyard.

 

Desert Care Network (DCN) continues its longstanding support of DAP Health with a significant $2.5 million contribution toward the nonprofit’s Vision Forward campus expansion campaign and soon-to-be-unveiled affordable housing complex, Vista Sunrise II. The generous gift reflects DCN’s dedication to addressing the needs of the diverse communities both organizations serve. This commitment will help provide equitable housing solutions for individuals facing challenges such as homelessness and chronic illnesses.

“At Desert Care Network, we are deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of all residents in the Coachella Valley,” says Desert Regional Medical Center & Desert Care Network CEO Michele Finney. “Our 40-year partnership with DAP Health, and this donation toward its Palm Springs campus expansion, focus on much-needed affordable housing, and align perfectly with our mission to provide comprehensive care to our most vulnerable residents. To support the health of our entire community, we know we are better together.”

“Thank you, Desert Care Network, for understanding — as we do — that housing is health care,” adds DAP Health CEO David Brinkman. “Together, we are transforming lives and building a healthier, more compassionate community. By focusing on health equity and social drivers of health, we highlight the connection between housing and superior health outcomes. The ability of Vista Sunrise II residents, most of whom have no means of reliable transportation, to access primary and mental health care — not to mention wraparound social services such as nutrition, health education, and so much more — within a short walk next door is a game-changer for some of our most marginalized neighbors.”

Vista Sunrise II, a collaborative effort between DAP Health and developer Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, will provide affordable housing while incorporating thoughtful design elements and sustainable construction practices. This innovative project will feature 61 units, with 30 dedicated to rapid rehousing for individuals experiencing homelessness and 30 units allocated to those with chronic illnesses and/or low incomes. Key features include:

Thoughtfully Designed Living Spaces: The units will offer a variety of configurations, including one- and two-bedroom layouts, with a housing manager’s home also onsite. Each unit has been designed to prioritize comfort and functionality, featuring large windows for natural daylight, office nooks for work-from-home opportunities, and mobility-accessible options for residents with special needs.

Sustainable Construction Practices: The project incorporates environmentally friendly practices such as density housing on an existing site to minimize land clearing, “cool roof” materials to reduce energy costs, and all-electric appliances to decrease reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, carports with solar panels will offset the complex’s power grid electrical needs, further enhancing its sustainability.

Unique Amenities: Vista Sunrise II offers a range of amenities to foster community engagement and well-being, including rooftop terraces with mountain views, outdoor courtyards, a community center for gatherings and learning, and on-site case management services for residents. The proximity to DAP Health programs and services, grocery stores, shops, and an adjacent park will encourage residents to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

Vista Sunrise II represents a beacon of affordable housing innovation, combining compassionate care with sustainable practices to create a thriving community for all residents. With Desert Care Network’s generous contribution, this project will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families in Palm Springs for decades to come.

 

About DAP Health

DAP Health, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024, is an internationally renowned humanitarian health care organization and federally qualified health center (FQHC) whose goal is to protect and expand health care access for all people — especially the disenfranchised — regardless of who or where they are, their health status, or whether they have health insurance.
 
In 2023, the nonprofit made a successful bid to absorb the Borrego Health system, enabling its 950 employees to serve more than 85,000 patients of all populations, genders, and ages — from newborns to seniors — at a total of 25 Southern California clinics located within 240 rural and urban zip codes from the Coachella Valley to the San Diego coast.

For years, DAP Health’s programs and services have included primary care, infectious diseases, gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ care, mental health, dentistry, harm reduction, recovery services, affordable housing, social services, and HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. The additional disciplines now under its vast umbrella include family medicine, women’s health (including OB-GYN), pediatrics, veterans’ health, geriatrics, urgent care, and pharmacy services.

The organization was founded as Desert AIDS Project in 1984 by a group of volunteers. Thanks to nearly 40 years of experience caring for those affected not only by the HIV epidemic but by various other public health emergencies (COVID-19, mpox), DAP Health has the physical and intellectual resources, the drive, and — most importantly — the vision to effect even greater change by positively impacting its diverse patient populations’ social drivers of health (SDOH).
 
According to the World Health Organization, SDOH are “the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”
 
The next epidemic hasn’t surfaced — yet. But just as DAP Health met earlier community health crises decisively and successfully, its experts stand at the ready.

 

About Vision Forward

Vision Forward is DAP Health’s 10-year strategic plan that will see the organization grow from serving 10,000 individuals annually today at its Sunrise campus to 25,000 patients and clients a year by 2025. So far, this broadminded expansion has encompassed:

  • The purchase of the Annette Bloch CARE Building and the opening of its three clinics.
  • The opening of a DAP Health sexual wellness clinic in Palm Springs.
  • Construction of Vista Sunrise II, which will feature 61 new units of affordable housing, to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

Still to come is the Tenet Health Pavilion, a structure that will bridge the Barbara Keller LOVE Building and the Annette Bloch CARE Building, and which will include:

  • A transit- and pedestrian-friendly pathway.
  • A central registration area for all patient services.
  • A cafe open to the public that will be staffed and managed by clients of DAP Health’s Return-to-Work program.

 

About Desert Care Network

Desert Care Network is your health care resource in the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin regions of Southern California. We are three hospitals: Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio, and Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. Working together, we bring advanced health care to our communities.

We operate a Level 1 trauma center at Desert Regional, the highest possible. And Level 4 trauma centers at JFK and Hi-Desert.

We have created a network of stroke-ready hospitals, anchored by Desert Regional Medical Center — our valley’s only nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center — and supported by the primary stroke center at JFK and the certified stroke-ready hospital at Hi-Desert.

Desert Regional is home to the only Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for newborns in the Coachella Valley. We also operate a hospital-based clinic that provides high-risk care for expectant moms.

DCN has an unwavering commitment to our community. We train the next generations of physicians through our residency program, and those doctors staff mobile clinics that provide services to the underserved, unhoused, and refugee populations across the desert.

DCN provides over a hundred million dollars in free and discounted health care to patients in need each year. In the last three decades, we have given millions of dollars in charitable donations and sponsorships to local organizations, including DAP Health, FIND Food Bank, the Women Leaders Forum, Volunteers in Medicine, and many more.

We are dedicated, driven, and proud to serve the health care needs of the Coachella Valley, the Morongo Basin, and everyone who visits our desert.

 

About Coachella Valley Housing Coalition

The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition was founded in 1982 by a group of community advocates, the local community, and business leaders, to address the substandard living conditions farmworkers and other low-income persons were enduring in the Eastern Coachella Valley.

Their innate sense of compassion for the human condition inspired them to help hundreds of families move out of inadequate living conditions — which included makeshift power poles in unpermitted mobile home parks, contaminated drinking water, and other crude housing additions made of cardboard — into safe, decent, and affordable housing. With a $10,000-dollar seed grant from the Aetna Foundation, the board of directors established the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC).

Today, CVHC is an award-winning tax-exempt 501 (c)(3), nonprofit affordable housing development organization that has been named amongst the Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers in the country. Every CVHC housing community is built with a solid commitment to partnerships, vision, and extensive community planning. CVHC is a Neighbor Works® America chartered member and a Rural LISC partner. It has developed affordable housing throughout Riverside and Imperial Counties, and has developed more than 5,000 multi-family and single-family residences, making it the largest affordable housing developer in Riverside County.

Key Programs

Rental Housing: Through its Multi-Family Housing Development department, CVHC builds affordable rental housing for working families (in hospitality, retail, and health care), farmworkers, retired farmworkers, migrant farmworkers, veterans, and families/individuals with special needs — the elderly, people with disabilities, and chronic illnesses. With more than 41 affordable rental communities totaling 2,953 units developed throughout Riverside County, CVHC offers an array of housing options for renters who are looking for a steppingstone to homeownership, or who are in need of affordable rental housing. CVHC is proud to partner with DAP Health on the development and operations of Vista Sunrise II, a 61-unit special needs development located in the city of Palm Springs. The development will include 29 units for chronically homeless individuals and 31 units for chronic illnesses. The Vista Sunrise II development will be CVHC’s fifth special needs development constructed in Riverside County.

Homeownership Through the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program: Since 1989, CVHC has been helping families fulfill their dream of homeownership. Creating affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income families is a part of CVHC’s mission. The mutual self-help housing program means homes are built in part by homeowners. In the mutual self-help program, families work together and collectively build each other’s homes by using their sweat equity in place of a down payment.    Mutual self-help housing essentially builds communities based on a shared commitment of hard work, mutual support, and lifelong bonds. CVHC is the largest mutual self-help developer in the nation. To date, over 2,160 single-family homes have been constructed throughout Riverside and Imperial counties.

Community Engagement: CVHC also provides enrichment and educational programs at its Multi-Family developments. These include early childhood education centers, afterschool kids clubs, computer Instruction + technology centers, ballet folklorico dance instruction, mariachi music instruction, alternative high school diploma and GED programs for adults, community gardens + wellness for seniors, health and wellness educational classes + events, and English as a second language.

John F. Mealey College Scholarship Fund: In 2020, CVHC created the JFM Scholarship Fund in honor of its founding executive director. The scholarship is awarded annually to students living in CVHC developments who are seeking a higher education at any accredited college, university, or vocation school. To date, more than $962,000 in scholarships have been awarded, benefiting more than 889 students, supporting their dreams, and helping them persevere to complete their degrees.

###

A Guide to Safely Hooking Up Online

A Guide to Safely Hooking Up Online

While popular online dating and hookup apps offer a convenient way to meet new people, their relative anonymity can also leave you open to danger. It’s therefore essential that you prioritize your safety. This guide is aimed at those who use these apps and would like to reduce the risk of situations that are uncomfortable at best, and life-threatening at worst.

 

Before

Define Expectations
Discuss intentions and desires openly. Talk in detail about what you’re both looking for, including any kinks/fetishes. If either

of you uses drugs, communicate your preferences and boundaries clearly.

Exchange Face Pics
Insist on receiving recent face pics. If they refuse to share, that’s a red flag. Move on.

Get a Phone Number
Swap phone numbers, then give a call or send a text. If they refuse to share, that’s a red flag. Move on.

Take Screenshots
Capture the person’s profile, face pics, and all your texted conversation, including their phone number. This documentation can be vital if issues arise later.

Tell a Friend
Share details (who, what, where) with a trusted friend. Ask that they check up on you if they don’t hear from you within an agreed-upon time.

Secure Valuables and Beware of Scams
Be cautious and secure your valuables. Be vigilant about scams and fraudulent behavior.

Install a Security Camera
If you have security cameras, such as a security doorbell or surveillance system, use them to observe the person before opening your door. If you don’t have cameras, you can still lessen potential risk by telling the person you do.

Trust Your Instincts
Above all, no matter what, listen to your gut. It rarely lies. If anything feels off at any point, you have the right to end the interaction at any time — even during or after sex. Consent is continuous, and you can withdraw it at any moment.

 

During

Trust Your Instincts

Above all, no matter what, listen to your gut. It rarely lies. If anything feels off at any point, you have the right to end the interaction at any time — even during or after sex. Consent is continuous, and you can withdraw it at any moment.

Note Physical Characteristics
Pay attention to distinctive features such as scars, tattoos, or birthmarks. This may be useful to identify the person later.

Bondage
Be extremely careful when using bondage and restraints with someone you don’t know.

Stay Sober
Don’t play when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which can lead to poor judgment and leave you very vulnerable.

Engage in Safer Drug Use
If you do choose to use drugs, do so as wisely as possible. And test them beforehand, whether they’re from an unknown source or not. Free fentanyl and xylazine testing strips are widely available — including at DAP Health — and can help prevent accidental overdoses.

 

This Isn’t Fun Anymore!

Drugged and/or Assaulted?
You may suddenly find yourself incapacitated, or unable to consent. Common symptoms of having been drugged include drowsiness, disorientation, dizziness, and/or excessive intoxication despite having consumed a minimal amount of alcohol or drugs.

Collect Evidence
If you can do so safely and discreetly, take photos or videos of your attacker, yourself, relevant objects, and your location. This evidence could help legal action you may choose to pursue.

Leave
If you believe you’ve been drugged, or are in immediate danger, try to leave safely.

Stay, Scream, Fight Back
If leaving isn’t possible, scream to attract attention, and/or use any available object to defend yourself.

Call 911
If you can, call 911. Explain your situation as clearly and calmly as possible, providing your location. If you’re unable to speak, stay on the line to allow emergency services to trace your call.

 

After

Remember It’s Not Your Fault
It’s important to recognize that shame and embarrassment are common responses, but please know you are not to blame. Assaults can happen to individuals of all genders, and you are innocent in this situation.

Seek Medical Attention
This is crucial to ensure your well-being and to collect any potential evidence.

Make a Police Report
If you’ve experienced a crime, reporting it to the authorities can help prevent further harm to others. Also, remember that reporting a crime won’t result in trouble if you’ve been using drugs.

Embrace Support
Recognize you’ve endured emotional and physical trauma, and that seeking help is a courageous step. Whether you reach out to friends, family, or specialized support organizations, countless others have walked similar paths. You’re not alone in this journey. Support is available to uplift and guide you through it.

 

These are simply suggestions, and it’s essential to use what works best for you and your situation.

 

 

A Guide to Hookup App Lingo

This glossary is your dating app decoder.

[+] HIV-positive

+/- Interested in HIV-positive/negative

420-friendly Into marijuana

Admin Short for administer (injecting someone with drugs)

Anon Short for anonymous (a preference for not knowing personal details before connecting)

On Deck Having drugs for sale

BB (AKA Bareback, Raw, Breeding, Taking Loads) Condomless anal sex

DDF Drug- and disease-free

Discreet Closeted or in a relationship but looking

DL On the down low (closeted or in a relationship but looking)

DTF Down to f***

Host Hooking up at their place

Looking Interested in hooking up

NSA No strings attached (sex without emotional fidelity or future expectations)

Party Into drugs

PNP Party and Play (refers to drugs and sex)

T Tina (crystal meth)

Travel Not hooking up at their place

Where Did All This Peanut Allergy Come F …

Where Did All This Peanut Allergy Come From?

Words by Ellen Bluestein

 

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, as of 2017, 2.5% of children in the United States have peanut allergy. While that percentage may seem small, it translates to more than 1.8 million kids with a potentially fatal condition. 

 

“Probably about 20 years ago, it was clear that this was not only a growing problem, but it had already become a public health problem in the United States and around the world,” says Dr. Andrew Liu, a pediatric allergist at the University of Colorado. “I don’t know that we’re sure why or how peanut allergy has become so prevalent. But I think it’s pretty clear that it’s real.”

 

Researchers have been exploring several possible hypotheses. One — the hygiene theory — explores the idea that with the advent of germ-killing cleaning products, our environments no longer provide the exposure to microbes that the immune system recognizes and learns to fight off.

 

“What is a microbe-rich environment? One where we’re living around a lot of animals,” says Dr. Liu. “There have been a lot of studies where it looks like allergies are less common in kids growing up in farming environments or in developing nations where people live very closely to their animals. Some people think … that the immune system doesn’t see enough of those microbial exposures early because we’ve gone and cleaned up our environment.”

 

Early exposure to peanuts — between four and six months of age — may be one way to reduce the allergy. “The original observation was in Israel, where they had this teething cracker called Bamba which has peanut in it,” says Dr. Liu. “And they observed that within communities where this was a common cultural practice, the prevalence of peanut allergy in the kids was really low compared to what they were seeing in other communities.”

 

This led to more research and ultimately a definitive study on prevention. Children were given Bamba or a derivative, and then followed. Those who received the cracker were unlikely to develop peanut allergy compared to those who didn’t get it. “It looked like early exposure … when our bodies are learning about what is safe … is an essential time period,” says Dr. Liu. “If the immune system learns that the peanut is not something to be concerned about, then that stays.”

 

While there is still much to be discovered, Dr. Liu is optimistic that there will be remedies for those who suffer from the life-threatening condition. “There’s work going on to develop treatments to either reduce or prevent the severe reactions to those who are peanut allergic,” he says. “There continues to be investment in a lot of research … to try to get to that place where there are treatments that can be helpful for people and young kids who are allergic.”

The Science of Positivity

The Science of Positivity

“Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” — Michael Jordan

Words by Kay Kudukis

 

In the 1990s, a recurring skit on SNL called “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley” had Al Franken portraying an insecure, support group-addicted, self-help schlub in a cardigan. He was the antithesis of the popular, flashy, mindset gurus like Tony Robbins. Stuart would frequently look at himself in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and, doggone it, people like me.”

Although Franken was poking fun at the new fad, it wasn’t very new. Over 3,000 years ago, the Greeks were writing meditations and guidelines touting the best ways to live. The idea is actually 5,000 years old, but back then there was no alphabet, which made writing hard.

By the 1800s, poets and renowned authors were onto it, but scientists didn’t take notice until the 1970s, when they asked, “Is there anything to this?” It took a few decades, and a lot of studies, but the answer is — in wildly unscientific terms — it’s definitely a thing. Turns out, there’s true power in the science of positivity!

Yes, science. The University of Chapel Hill conducts a Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory studying “how positive emotions affect people’s thinking patterns, social behavior, health, and physiological reactions.” Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic promote positive thinking to lower blood sugar and high blood pressure, and to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by lowering cortisol.

The human brain is the most complex thing in the known universe, and yours is fueled by your thoughts. Ever heard that if you repeat a lie long enough it becomes the truth? If your brain is filled with negative self-chatter, it will come to believe it. If your inner monologue is positive, the brain responds, and your stress levels decrease along with your blood pressure.

There is another tool called “reframing” that makes you more productive. It’s where “I hate doing the dishes” becomes “I can’t wait to get these dishes done and have a nice clean sink.” Such positivity releases dopamine and serotonin into your system, and if you add a smile? Well, a study at the University of Kansas concluded that smiling is such a powerful source of endorphins that your stress levels go down even when you fake a smile. So now you’ve got a buzzy cocktail of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins in you, and the dishes are done.

If you need a little extra help, DAP Health is here for you. Its medical professionals won’t do your dishes, but they do have some unique Wellness Services, including a Zoom group based on positivity and related to achieving goals.

Michael Jordan didn’t get to be the GOAT by talent alone. In fact, he attributes his success to positive thinking. He never told himself he couldn’t. “I can accept failure,” he famously said. “Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

So be like Michael. Flip that switch. It’s not going to make you a great basketball player, but you’ll absolutely, positively, win at this game we call life.

Can I Tell Them Who I Am?

Jean-Marie Navetta

Can I Tell Them Who I Am?

After 17 years at PFLAG, Palm Springs resident — and Out & Equal’s new vice president of learning — knows all about diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace.

As seen in Issue 4 of DAP Health magazine 

Words by Victoria Pelletier • Photos by David A. Lee

Jean-Marie Navetta’s bio at PFLAG ended with the quip, “Jean-Marie is, most importantly, living proof that philosophy majors can get real jobs.”

Of course, Navetta is far more than a “philosophy major.” Educator, advocate, leader, prophet, sage, dreamer, superwoman? Now we’re getting closer. Navetta’s illustrious career in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space through LQBTQ+ education and advocacy points to her why in life. She envisions a world wherein no one needs to ask the question she’s often asked herself on the first day of a new job: “Can I tell them who I am?” For those committed to actualized DEI in business and beyond it, the universal answer must become, “Yes, you can!” And one must not lose any sleep over it.

I recently sat down for a Zoom interview with the Palm Springs resident as she prepared to take on a new professional role as vice president of learning at Out & Equal, “the premier organization working exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equality,” per the nonprofit’s website. “Through our worldwide programs, Fortune 500 partnerships, and our annual Workplace Summit conference, we help LGBTQ+ people thrive and support organizations creating a culture of belonging for all.”

Navigating Identity: Jean-Marie's Journey in DEI Advocacy

The biggest takeaways from our conversation? Inclusion begins with education, and full inclusion means changing systems and the culture. Navetta is deeply committed to all of the above. She reminds me — and all of us, for that matter — that changing systems and culture is especially daunting in the current, uber-polarized environment. “DEI work was a given,” Navetta notes as she looks back on her early pro years, adding that “opposition has become far more sophisticated in how they are resisting it; this level of sophistication should cause us to be concerned and be more vigilant and relentless in our work.”

Education as Empowerment: Transforming Workplace Culture

Bottom line? There’s plenty of work to do to overcome the regression that is afoot in government, business, and broader culture. 

Navetta remembers the first time she encountered PFLAG. A teenager at the time, she observed a Pride parade from the sidelines and thought, “Wow…if only.” After earning that golden philosophy degree, Navetta considered law school for a while before settling into communications roles. Heart and mind stirred during those early years in the workplace. She recognized the forward momentum of the inclusion movement and knew she wanted to be a part of an unscripted future in DEI.

Challenges and Progress: Overcoming Obstacles in the DEI Movement

A work stint in Washington, D.C. provided the entry point for a career in her education and advocacy work. While working as a press secretary there, Navetta volunteered with a local PFLAG chapter. Impressed by her passion, intellect, and ability, the chapter director submitted her resume to PFLAG HQ, knowing Navetta’s drive and skills were needed at the national level. The pivot from communications to advocacy and education was now underway for Navetta, and would grow for the next 17 years with PFLAG.

Business as Catalyst: The Role of Corporations in Advancing LGBTQ+ Rights

“I had to find my space in the movement,” she says while reflecting on her early days in DEI, so she gobbled as much information as possible, taking deep dives into topics like butch/femme identity. Navetta had experienced, personally, that queerness could lead to discrimination and even hostility in the workplace. Like many in the LGBTQ+ community, she has been leery at times about “being out” in the office, and she understands that many workers remain confused by the difference between acceptance and full inclusion and belonging. “Look around,” she declares with a resolute voice. We need workplace advocacy because, “we’re losing ground on the policy and cultural acceptance fronts.” 

Global Impact: Jean-Marie's Vision for DEI Education at Out & Equal

Of course, the current political climate does not help advance DEI efforts in education or in business. In the most sobering moments of our conversation, Navetta laments the insidious ways elected representatives stoke regressive legislative action. “Legislation is designed to shut discussions down, and it makes you realize we have to do more.” Pondering the impacts of her work as a DEI champion and guide for businesses, Navetta adds, “Restrictions on how we talk about things in education, government, in documents, etc. means that one of the last places we can have this conversation is in the workplace.”

Effective DEI work in the workplace can move the broader cultural conversation forward, though. “Look at marriage equality — there was phenomenal grassroots activism, yet the influence of private sector employers was incredibly powerful in driving change and judicial decisions forward.” Navetta sees business shaping many more DEI advancements. “Let’s use the time and place where people spend more time than anywhere else [work] to educate and advance LGBTQIA+ rights, inclusion.”

Citing court challenges to DEI based on religious freedom arguments, I ask Navetta if she thinks companies might reverse course on DEI progress because of recent legislation and court rulings. Despite the legislative and judicial headwinds, she feels positive about the prospects of businesses staying the course. “Most of the companies that we see committed will continue on their path forward; most companies understand that [DEI] helps with business performance.”

Indeed, Navetta’s new role at Out & Equal gives her the leverage to scale up her DEI educational work in a way that could have broad, global impact. Immediately, her leadership at the organization’s workplace summit — the world’s largest of the kind — will provide opportunities to present a diverse portfolio of LGBTQIA+ programs to a significant, cosmopolitan audience. 

Our superwoman with the golden philosophy degree remains a global force in the DEI space. She feels supported by her wife of 23 years, Jude Medeiros, plus a cohort of generous colleagues. Then there’s the considerable quality of life she has found by moving from grey and chilly San Francisco to warm and sunny Palm Springs in 2018. The local international airport certainly makes her frequent travel less of a burden, and the community of friends the couple has cultivated recharges Navetta’s oft-depleted batteries come evening or the weekend. She’s even found time to volunteer to teach queer youth about their history at the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert’s satellite space in Coachella. 

Basically, Navetta believes she was born at the perfect time into a difficult world, buoyed by infinite possibilities. “I am excited to be educating LGBTQIA+ leaders and the next generation,” she offers with a look of satisfaction.

I, like many of you, look forward to the day Navetta’s question — Can I tell them who I am? — is always answered in the affirmative.