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

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

Meet the Provider: Matt Moran

Matt Moran is an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (APNP) with specialty, post-graduate education and training in the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, and has completed a Fellowship in HIV medicine. He has also received the advanced education and training required to perform high-resolution anoscopies, which are used in the diagnosis and treatment of anal dysplasia. Mr. Moran has been involved in the design and implementation of clinical programs targeting anal dysplasia screening and research., to both assist with the triage and treatment of affected adults, and to provide consultation to other

Mr. Moran has been involved in the design and implementation of clinical programs targeting anal dysplasia screening and research, to both assist with the triage and treatment of affected adults, and to provide consultation to other healthcare providers.

Mr. Moran has provided leadership in developing clinical protocols necessary for anoscopy research, has provided insight into recruitment strategies for target populations, and has provided data safety monitoring to Principal Investigators and study statisticians.

From 2014-2016, Mr. Moran held a faculty position at the UCLA School of Nursing, where he provided instruction to Nurse Practitioners. He has been at Desert AID Project for 4+ years and we hope for many more.

Hepatitis Center of Excellence Opens at …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
David Brinkman, CEO
Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.)
Tel: 760-992-0418
Email:  dbrinkman@desertaidsproject.org

Hepatitis Center of Excellence Opens at Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project collaborates with Desert Oasis Healthcare to make state-of-the art Hepatitis testing and treatment accessible to the community.

PALM SPRINGS, CA, (December 5, 2016) –  Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) has opened the doors today to the Hepatitis Center of Excellence – a new clinic designed to address a serious and growing need for Hepatitis care in the local community.  D.A.P. is collaborating with Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) to staff the new Center with Infectious Disease Physicians and Pharmacists who specialize in Hepatitis care.

Hepatitis Center of Excellence
at Desert AIDS Project
1695 N. Sunrise Way (at Vista Chino)
Open Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 8AM-5PM
By appointment only; to make an appointment, call 760-992-0426
Patient entrance:  Through loading dock ramp on south side of building
Check-in at The DOCK reception desk

Located at D.A.P.’s main campus in Palm Springs, the new Hepatitis Center of Excellence will deliver comprehensive, state-of-the art expertise to manage, support and cure those afflicted with Hepatitis. Services will include non-invasive diagnostic testing and staging, improved access to curative treatments, and compassionate support for the many complex issues associated with a Hepatitis diagnosis.

The new Center anticipates its major emphasis will be testing and treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV), a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer, the need for liver transplants, and increased risk of death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every American born from 1945 through 1965 get a blood test for Hepatitis C.  Thanks to recent medical breakthroughs, Hepatitis C can now be cured with anti-viral medication(s).

The collaboration between D.A.P. and DOHC was first suggested to the administration of both organizations by Shubha Kerkar, MD, MACP.  Dr. Kerkar has served both healthcare organizations for more than 20 years and has been a lead provider of HCV care for both agencies.

“This collaboration is bringing the effective model of HCV care we’ve developed at DOHC, to the community served by D.A.P., which is an FQHC,” she explained, referring to D.A.P.’s status as a Federally Qualified Health Center.  The new Center, which will make testing and care accessible to a broader population, accepts most private insurance, Medicare and Medi-Cal.   Uninsured income-qualified patients can receive care at reduced costs.

While systematic valley-wide testing would be needed to determine HCV prevalence in the Coachella Valley, it is estimated that as many as 4,000 Coachella Valley residents currently live with chronic HCV.  Approximately 3.5 million people in the US live have HCV – with somewhere in the range of 40% to 85% unaware that they are infected.  It is estimated that 2-3% percent of the global population, or 150 million individuals, are infected with HCV.

There are parallels between the HCV and HIV epidemics, and co-infection of the two viruses is common.  Per David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project, “The number of people in the U.S. living with HCV is about triple the number living with HIV. Approximately 20% of D.A.P.’s HIV patients are co-infected with HCV. While the symptoms of HIV can take up to 10 years to appear, a person can have Hepatitis C for many decades without symptoms,” he continued. “As with HIV, the only way to know if you have Hepatitis C is to get tested.”

One highly significant difference between the two diseases is that HCV can now be cured.  However, “If people wait until they have symptoms of HCV, it’s too late,” emphasized Dr. Kerkar.  “We’re now seeing patients in their sixties, seventies and eighties with HCV, and it seems to be just the tip of the iceberg,” she cautioned.   “Stage 4 Hepatitis C is irreversible.  We need to find people at stages zero, one, two and three.”

Although D.A.P. has provided HCV testing and treatment for many years, the new Center enables the agency to offer its patients DOHC’s state-of the-art model of Hepatitis C care, delivered by Physicians and Pharmacists who specialize in Hepatitis.  The DOHC model has been published and presented in State and Regional US forums.  Additionally, the agency’s own unique D.A.P. Total Care model — which holistically integrates case management, counseling, and other healthcare services – will help patients to maintain their Hepatitis C medication regimens.

With the opening of the new Center, DOHC will continue to operate its existing Hepatitis clinic in Palm Springs which has treated more than 200 of its members.

Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, Hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

People can become infected with the Hepatitis C virus during such activities as

  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
  • Needlestick injuries in heath care setting
  • Being born to a mother who has Hepatitus C

Less commonly, a person can also get Hepatitis C virus infection through

  • Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s blood, such as razors or toothbrushes
  • Having sexual contact with a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus

No vaccine for Hepatitis C is available. Research into the development of a vaccine is under way.

The CDC recommends that individuals talk to their doctor about being tested for Hepatitis C if any of the following are true:

  • You were born from 1945 through 1965.
  • You are a current or former injection drug user, even if you injected only one time or many years ago.
  • You were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987.
  • You received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992.
  • You are on long-term hemodialysis treatment.
  • You have abnormal liver tests or liver disease.
  • You work in health care or public safety and were exposed to blood through a needlestick or other sharp object injury.
  • You are infected with HIV.

For more information about Hepatitis C from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visit  http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm

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

About Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC)
Desert Oasis Healthcare is a healthcare organization that serves the residents of the greater Coachella Valley and surrounding desert communities of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. DOHC is not an insurance health care plan. Rather, health care plans (Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Commercial) contract with DOHC who in turn contracts with a network of over 100 Primary Care Providers, over 200 specialists, hospitals and diagnostic centers, and a continuum of health care systems. The DOHC network serves over 70,000 members/patients.

Reflective of the ever changing healthcare world, DOHC has been evolving since 1981. Desert Oasis Healthcare is a member of Heritage Provider Network (HPN), and was the first organization of HPN formed in 1981 as Desert Medical Group. In 1992, Oasis Independent Physician Association was formed and in 2006, the organizations merged to form Desert Oasis Healthcare.

DOHC continues to grow its extensive network that includes Home Health, Family Hospice Care, Palliative Care, and Accountable Care Organizations to complement the network of agencies ready to serve you.

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Meet the Provider: Dr. David Hersh – L …

Dr. David Hersh, M.D., Chief Clinical Officer, joined Desert AIDS Project in early 2013 as a staff Psychiatrist and accepted the position of Chief Clinical Officer in January 2016 after serving as Director of Clinical Services for the prior two years.  He continues to manage a patient caseload in addition to his administrative duties.

As Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Hersh oversees the development, delivery, and integration of all medical, behavioral health, home health, social, and dental services.  He also supervises Informatics & Compliance to include medical records and information technology. His primary duties consist of the development, implementation, and monitoring of policies and procedures, quality improvement, meeting goals of fiscal efficiency through billing and budget management, and leading initiatives to enhance collaboration and communication with internal and external stakeholders.

Dr. Hersh has been practicing medicine for 27 years, becoming a Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1992.  After graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Dr. Hersh received his medical degree from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey – Rutgers Medical School, followed by post-doctoral work in psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Hersh has been a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut Health Center, and at University of California – San Francisco. Prior to his work at Desert AIDS Project, Dr. Hersh served as Medical Director of Substance-Use Treatment Services for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Meet the Provider: Anthony Velasco – S …

Please join us in welcoming Anthony Velasco to the Desert AIDS Project medical team. Mr. Velasco is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and has been working in HIV care since 2010. Prior to joining the Desert AIDS Project, he worked as a clinical nurse supervisor at UC San Diego Health in an acute medicine unit specializing in HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, opportunistic infections, and AIDS-related cancers.

Mr. Velasco earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from San Diego State University, graduating top of his class. He is trained in two advanced practice nursing roles – Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist. In addition to being a board-certified Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Mr. Velasco was also awarded board certification in medical-surgical nursing and AIDS care nursing. In 2014, he was honored with the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses Career Mobility award. He belongs to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, and Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing.

In each of his academic and professional endeavors, he derives the greatest joy from building relationships with his clients, and from collaborating with all members of the transdisciplinary team to offer caring, comprehensive, and compassionate care.

Mr. Velasco is passionate about global health and HIV/AIDS care and has participated in medical missions to Honduras and Haiti. He recently relocated to Palm Springs, September 2016, with his 20-lb cat, Mochi. Although he misses surfing and paddle boarding, he is very eager to explore the gorgeous hiking trails of the Coachella Valley. He is very excited to be a part of the Desert AIDS Project.

*As a part of our new EPIC E.H.R., patients of D.A.P. can click on the Patient Portal button at the top of the website to be taken to My Chart, an interactive tool for online advice from a provider, as well as access to health information and test results, the ability to make appointments, to request prescription refills, and more. Visit the FAQ page to learn more about My Chart. You can even download the My Chart app for iPhone or Android.

Women’s Empowerment Day invites sharin …

The female clients of Desert AIDS Project will be front and center, as they receive manicures, massages, and sisterly love during the second annual Women’s Empowerment Day on May 21 … and it’s going to be all about health and wellness for women living with HIV and AIDS.

They’ll learn more about their unique health and emotional issues from leading specialists. A favorite from last year’s event, Dr. Laveeza Bhatti, MD, PhD., Director of the Hep C/HIV Co-Infection Clinic at AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, is returning with more good advice. Dr. Bhatti is an infectious disease specialist, who has worked with female HIV-affected patients for years. Dr. Bhatti will be joined by Jill Gover, PhD., director of Mental Health Services at The LGBT Community Center of the Desert. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Gover specializes in addiction, anxiety, depression, aging, and LGBT issues.

“The Women’s Empowerment Day is important because we want our female clients to know we’re here to support their needs, just as we do their male counterparts,” says Brett Klein, Events and Retail Marketing Manager, who, along with Denise Marvel, Human Resources Coordinator, is organizing the day. Brett noted he and Denise want to introduce women to the many workshops, support groups, and alternative therapies offered at D.A.P.

Janine Bell, Substance Abuse Specialist who leads our Women’s Empowerment Group, explains that reaching women, who comprise about 5% of D.A.P.’s client base, is difficult because they’re not as “out” about their HIV-positive status as gay men. Many of them are low-income single mothers who don’t hang out around D.A.P.’s campus and mingle. “After completing their medical, dental or case management appointments, they bolt,” Janine observes.

That’s why Brett feels it’s important for D.A.P. to extend a special invitation to women to let them know that D.A.P. is here for them, too.

“We learned at our first empowerment day that women experience the disease and its medications differently than men,” Brett says. “And there are very few outlets for them to learn about HIV the way they know it and share that knowledge with others who are going through the same thing.”

Last year, Dr. Bhatti explained HIV from a woman’s perspective and fielded questions that were both illuminating and touching. There were tears and reassurance among the audience of about 18 women, who shared their experiences. Dr. Bhatti applauded the size of the crowd saying it was unusually large for an event held by an AIDS service organization for women.

The second annual Women’s Empowerment Day will be held from 9:30 AM to 4 PM. on May 21 at D.A.P.’s main campus. The “safe space” day will include a session on building confidence and coping skills, a back-to-work career building seminar, breakfast, lunch, manicures, and massages.  Childcare services are available on request.

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP on or before May 11 by calling 760.992.0419.

Revivals Palm Desert soon to be “El Pa …

“Location, location, location” might be a realtor’s cliché but it still drives every retailer’s decisions about where to place their new store.

Location – to the third power — has driven Revivals Palm Desert to move from its location just off I-10, at 72-750 Dinah Shore Drive near Costco, and relocate seven miles south down Monterey Avenue to 72-885 Highway 111 near El Paseo. Still in Palm Desert, the new store will have the Westfield mall across the street and the posh El Paseo shopping district behind it. This popular corner at 111 and Monterey is awash in traffic that promises to drive Revivals sales skyward, according to Dane Koch, our Director of Retail.

“The move is all about location,” Dane says. “The store near Costco was so hard to find because we had no visibility from Dinah Shore.” With such heavy reliance on Costco shoppers, to sustain our business, the location offered little ability to grow. Expanding is essential for Revivals to continue its important contribution to D.A.P.’s diversified revenue stream to provide patient and client services.

“The new location on 111 offers great visibility. We believe we’ll retain our current shoppers while gaining new ones,” Dane smiled. “Being located in a strip mall with other successful retailers will greatly increase our traffic and sales. I believe we’ll see a corresponding improvement in the store’s profit. And every one of our 55 volunteers and six paid staff are committed to help us do that in support of D.A.P.’s mission.”

While he declined to elaborate, Dane hinted that this new location will have a closer affiliation with D.A.P.’s 100 Women annual giving program. Watch for details in future issues of DOSE

Foot and vehicle traffic abound at the new location in the shopping center that’s anchored by Staples office supply center and Rite Aid pharmacy. At 15,000 square feet, the new store will be a bit smaller while still retaining the mod-meets-vintage flavor of Revivals, which sells new Mode furniture, along with gently used clothing, housewares, appliances and more.

While a formal Grand Opening date is still pending, the new location will have a “soft opening” on Saturday, May 28, offering a $25 coupon on every purchase of $50 or more. The coupons will be good for the entire month of June. The old location will remain open until very close to that date.

 

D.A.P.’s nutritionist prescribes good …

The health care world, including Desert AIDS Project, looks at nutrition as a key part of good health. That’s why Gustavo Wong, registered dietitian and certified exercise physiologist, joined us about eight months ago as yet another facet of D.A.P.’s holistic approach to the care of our patients and clients.

Food is medicine for all of us, particularly for those living with HIV. “As a way of eating to live a healthier life, I recommend less processed food while choosing more natural items from a specific array of food groups,” Wong says. “Those groups are vegetables, fruits, and whole grains as good sources of carbohydrates, along with protein from meats and healthy fats.”

FoodPlate1As a primary guideline to healthier eating, Wong recommends the “plate method.” The basic idea is to have half of the plate devoted to non-starchy vegetables with a quarter for proteins and a quarter for carbs. However, Wong does tailor recommendations to the needs of individual clients. For example, some foods aggravate gastro-intestinal systems of certain patients, announcing their presence in the form of diarrhea, constipation, or nausea.

“Fats generally are the culprits,” Wong says, “so I want to make sure clients don’t have GI problems. If they do, I adjust their diet accordingly.”

The non-starchy veggies on half the plate include salads, asparagus, beets, mushrooms, broccoli, cucumber, and spinach. Denser carbs that make up a smaller part of the plate include beans, lentils, peas, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, bread, pasta, and corn. Red meat, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts and nut butters round out the plate with protein. On colder days, some people prefer to have vegetable soup, as a way of incorporating those all-important vegetables into their diet.

For breakfast, Wong recommends such items as cereal with nuts and fiber, such as flaxseed meal, or by adding some bran. Regardless of which meal, we all still need the foundation of “macronutrients” – carbs, protein, grains, and healthy fats – to help build a strong immune system. And taking a lot of supplements is no substitute for a balanced diet.

Neither is processed food. Wong insists that the nutrients that have often been removed, limited, or destroyed in food processing are essential for all of us.

Click to watch the tasty video 

In the Coachella Valley… “throw a ro …

That’s how clients of Desert AIDS Project describe the prevalence of crystal methamphetamine –commonly referred to as meth, crystal, Tina, ice, or glass, among other street names – in the Coachella Valley. Just as crystal meth has become a social problem on a global scale, our clients insist it plagues many of the people D.A.P. seek to provide medical care and social services.

Ray Robertson, Client Wellness Services Center Manager, knows this all too well. He was already a certified recovery counselor with about 20 years of experience leading a local, residential treatment facility before coming to D.A.P. more than five years ago. Having earned 29 years of sobriety himself, Ray sensed that addiction is an issue among many of our patients and clients living with HIV, who need a way back to a safer, saner life.

So he established the “Crystal Meth Action Team,” which held its first meeting this summer. Ray knew that D.A.P. had previously organized the “Crystal Meth Task Force” some years ago, to take on its use valley-wide. However, the task force dissolved in part because its mission was too broad and because it actually scared off some of the people it wanted to attract. When people encountered the Crystal Meth Task Force at the popular Thursday evening street fair in downtown Palm Springs, they thought they were being targeted by the police.

“We’re not going to ferret out users and bring them to judgment day,” Ray told team members at an initial brainstorming session. “What we’re going to be doing is opening doors to recovery.”

The Action Team’s primary goal is to develop strategies for creating a compassionate, nonjudgmental space where clients will feel welcomed and safe in sharing. No matter whether they use crystal meth themselves or have someone in their life who does, the Action Team members want to see that clients receive the help they ask for … whether that is simply more information, a chance to talk with someone who understands, or to actively engage in care. At the first gathering, members shared their experiences with meth and other substance use. Some are in recovery while others haven’t “used” but have watched friends and loved ones wrestle with substance abuse challenges.

Team members also discussed why they joined and what they believe should be done for those in the grips of this powerful habit. Many spoke from experience:

“I got HIV from sharing a needle I used to shoot crystal.”

“When you’re ‘slamming’ meth, it takes over and you forget everything else.”

“When you use meth, there are three possible endings: dead, in jail, or in recovery.”

Be they former drug abusers or “normies,” who’ve never used, team members agreed that users must be offered an avenue to recovery that’s safe, humane, and free from judgment or stigma. During the first meeting of the Crystal Meth Action Team, Ray diagrammed this concept for how recovery might begin to happen:

“Let’s open a corridor to doors – and behind each door is yet another recovery option.
Let’s make it comfortable for anyone to open those doors without fear of repercussions.”

The diagram resembled a pathway leading north with several roads intersecting it along the way. Ray labeled each of those connectors as team members suggested services: a helpline; education, outreach, and mentoring; referrals to 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous; safe social connections; strategies to break the connection between sex and meth; housing options during recovery; and literature describing meth’s effect on the body, particularly when HIV-positive. Several team members were enthusiastic about the books “Chasing the Scream” and “Overcoming Crystal Meth Addiction,” the latter showing what the drug does to brain chemistry and physiology.

Team members are, understandably, concerned because of the unfortunately all-too-common link between meth and HIV. The New England Journal of Medicine calls meth an extremely strong stimulant that provides an escape from stress, depression, alienation, and loneliness. It increases sexual arousal while reducing inhibition and judgment. The drug often crosses paths with people who are under tremendous emotional duress because of their illness. Throw in homophobia and stigma attached to HIV, and you have a perfect storm touching down in the Coachella Valley.

Medical trials suggest that people living with HIV who are also using meth often have lapses in their antiretroviral treatment, which might make their infection drug resistant. It can also rearrange the brain chemistry causing psychosis and depression so that users cannot feel good without pharmaceutical help. “People struggling with addiction are in emotional pain and the remedy they turn to is as harmful as it is habit-forming,” Ray says. “As holistic healthcare providers, we want to address all parts of what is causing pain for our clients and patients, helping them back to full and healthy lives.”

Stress relief through Transcendental Med …

It was at about the 12-mile mark of David Brinkman’s daily 17-mile run when the stress began to dissipate and the clarity necessary to run a “Top 20 HIV/AIDS Charity” like D.A.P. began to return.

But when a severe back injury put an end to the “extreme exercise” that supplied the dose of endorphins necessary to calm his mind, he needed a new stress reduction regimen. He chose Transcendental Meditation – more commonly known as TM – which has been learned by more than six million people of all ages, cultures, and religions.

David, who has been meditating for about five years, says, “Meditation is a way to access your own intuition by cutting through negative emotions that sometimes cloud our judgment,” David says. “For me, it’s a way to reconfirm that what I’m contemplating is not about ego, anxiety, or fear. What I choose to contemplate and what drives all of us at D.A.P. – staff and board – is serving humanity, right here in our own backyards. For me, when I can access that, everything falls into place.”

When he introduced TM to D.A.P. during the winter All-Staff Meeting, David told employees that meditation aligns with Building Connections, D.A.P.’s organizational philosophy of “connecting the best in me with the best in others.” It’s D.A.P.’s way of encouraging all employees to be ever-present and judgment-free in their daily interactions … with each other, with clients and patients, with volunteers, with donors … with everyone.

Twenty-eight D.A.P. employees jumped at the chance to learn TM. In fact, there was more demand than we could initially accommodate. David hopes to make the training to available to more staff – and to clients.

That’s because TM is particularly useful in an AIDS service environment according to the David Lynch Foundation, whose mission is to heal traumatic stress and raise performance in at-risk populations. Their target audiences for the benefits of TM are diverse, including school children, military veterans with PTSD, the homeless … and those living with HIV.

Dennis Rowe, director of Transcendental Meditation Palm Springs and certified teacher, says “Transcendental Meditation is a simple and natural process that allows participants to experience a peaceful silence deep within the mind. They sit quietly with their eyes closed and use a mantra that allows the mind to settle down into a peaceful, relaxed state. During that time, serotonin, the chemical that maintains mood balance, increases. At the same time, cortisol, a stress hormone, decreases while blood vessels expand. As you meditate, you just experience deep rest.”

San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Clinical Services Director Jeffrey M. Leiphart, PhD, uses TM with their clients and says “As stress rises, the immune system, which is already is under attack by the HIV in a person’s system, falters. Anything the HIV-infected person can do to interrupt that and provide a sense of relaxation and safety will be immune-enhancing. TM is a great example of that.” Norma, one of their clients, says “TM has helped me tremendously – not just in releasing stress but also increasing my number of T cells. And lowering my blood pressure to the point I no longer need medication.”

TM works by changing the blood flow to the brain, an effective way to manage anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and cognitive ability, many peer-reviewed studies show. This becomes a potent medicine to reduce cholesterol, congestive heart failure, stroke, metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes, and pain. Meditation also unlocks potential for intelligence, creativity, and learning.

David says “For me, it’s simple … when you find an effortless way to reduce stress, you have an important tool for dealing with the stress of modern-day life. I hope D.A.P. can bring that to our clients.”

Housing is an essential therapy for peop …

“From the time they come in and say ‘I’m homeless,’ to the time they say, ‘I got the apartment!’ it’s so great,” beams Nichelle Austin, Housing Case Manager for Desert AIDS Project. “You see them a month later and they look so different because they’re able to say ‘I’ve got a house. I can sleep tonight.’ ”

Nichelle knows that providing housing is essential therapy for people living with HIV and AIDS, who are facing homelessness or already living on the streets. She’s seen it work many times. So has Housing Coordinator Monica Aitchison.

“When a client gets housing and can sustain it, his health improves,” Monica observes. “At first, his health is fragile. Then he gets better. He’s not so isolated. He’s more approachable. You can see the difference.”

That’s why D.A.P. includes 81 studio and one-bedroom apartments at the Vista Sunrise complex in the compassionate, comprehensive care package available to clients. Located next to our campus at Vista Chino and Sunrise Avenue, Vista Sunrise is just one of several ways we support clients in need of housing.

Follow the winding path through Vista Sunrise and you’ll see a cluster of two-story buildings with Spanish stucco facades in the hues of a Mojave sunset. The apartments are unfurnished and airy at about 352 square feet for studios and 534 for one bedrooms.  There is a full kitchen and bath in each unit with outdoor patios. And the grounds include a dog park and a pool. Residents can decorate their patio areas to suit their own tastes just as they do inside their homes.

Gina Hooten, Vista Sunrise’s property manager, points out that potential residents must be diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Applicants also have to undergo credit and criminal background checks. They must have a source of income, usually Social Security. Rent is based on a sliding scale of 30%-60%-of-income. This gets them into a space whose market value ranges from $650 to $700 a month for studios and $700 to $800 a month for a one-bedroom.

Our housing specialists say the need is growing. Perhaps it’s the economy or the fact that people move here because of the weather, the lower cost of living and availability of resources.  Whatever the reason, Vista Sunrise has a growing waiting list of six to eight months for one-bedrooms and 12 to 18 months for studios.

Your donations and support can mean a world of difference for someone who doesn’t know where they’ll be sleeping tonight. You can donate, volunteer, or help fundraise any time of the year to make sure there’s one less person on the streets.



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