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

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

To Honor our Values, We Offer Hope

To Honor our Values, We Offer Hope

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, December 5, 2020, from David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

On World AIDS Day 2020 We Re-Committed  

Fighting COVID did not distract us from marking World AIDS Day 2020 with an even greater commitment to end new transmissions and care for our patients living with HIV throughout their lives. We have reached significant milestones, yet the AIDS crisis isn’t over. HIV infects 1.7 million people each year and kills another 690,000. 

Hope Begins with Health is our battle cry and our new campaign as we fight to continue care for PWH, as COVID continues to challenge us like nothing before.   

Our roots are deep from the lessons of compassionate care that the AIDS crisis taught us. From them we learned the importance of health equity for all, and COVID is calling on us to pay those lessons forward. We know that our founders would want us to expand our care to include COVID, a health crisis that long-term survivors are comparing to the earliest days of AIDS. You can read more here. 

Everyday Heroes 2020 Announced 

DAP is proud to honor the following Everyday Heroes for 2020: Dr. Terri Ketover and Dr. Tom Truhe.  

We honor them for their years of dedicated service and generous contributions of their passion, time and talents to DAP, and thousands of lives touched by their incredible leadership.   

We hope to resume our in-person event next year on World AIDS Day. This tradition bestows the title of Everyday Hero to humanitarians in our Valley leading the way to help people thrive with HIV, and to help prevent new infections.  

DAP In The News  

NBC Desert Living Now 

I spoke with Sandie Newton about how we are preparing for the future needs of our patients now.  I described our Hope Begins with Health campaign, our goal to raise the capital to continue offering HIV care, our COVID Clinic, and ever-expanding access to primary healthcare for our community. You can watch it here. 

Channel Q on Radio.com 

I talked with AJ Gibson and Mikalah Gordon about the significance of World AIDS Day, our origins as a volunteer-led organization, and how our HIV response has taught us that to defeat COVID, we have to eliminate stigma and discrimination and act to anchor our response in human rights. You can listen here. 

KESQ Evening News 

Steven Henke talked with Peter Daut about how DAP is echoing our roots, remembering that the solution for this epidemic, like the solution for COVID, is a community led solution. You can watch it here.  

DAP Talks: U=U  

With proper antiretroviral treatment (ART), people with HIV (PWH) cannot transmit the HIV virus to others. Treatment as prevention is a major breakthrough in the fight to stop new infections of HIV, and it offers hope in chipping away at the stigma PWH can carry with them. In this DAP Talks, U=U founder Bruce Richman explains. You can listen here

DAP On World AIDS Day 2020: Hope Begins …

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

DAP On World AIDS Day 2020: Hope Begins with Health 

(Palm Springs, CA) December 1, 2020 — DAP marks World AIDS Day 2020 by remembering the millions we have lost globally to AIDS, and by renewing our commitment to offer care and services that enable people with HIV (PWH) to live their best lives. When COVID arrived, we immediately fortified our HIV care program so that our patients would remain connected to care and receiving specialized services. We also increased options for anyone in our community to access prevention and testing for HIV. You can read more about our COVID Response here. 

Globally, 38 million people today are living with HIV. And since the pandemic began, about 35 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Here in the Coachella Valley, new cases of HIV continue to dramatically outpace other parts of California (CDC). 

Hope Begins with Health is our battle cry as we fight to continue care for PWH, as COVID continues to challenge us like nothing before.  

COVID is presenting unique challenges for PWH, increasing the need for our services.  

They are:  

  • Increased health problems from increased isolation, fear and anxiety, 
  • A higher risk of joblessness, food insecurity, and homelessness. 

 “Our roots are deep from the lessons of compassionate care that the AIDS crisis taught us,” says David Brinkman, CEO. “From those roots we learned the importance of health equity for all and COVID is calling on us to pay those lessons forward. 

Using our knowledge, compassion, and infrastructure for the greater good, we are committed to the dual purpose of continuing to care for our 8,000 clients while also supplying support to all those in our community affected by the pandemic. 
 
New HIV Testing Set-Up on Old Turf 

Palm Springs Revivals, a location steeped in DAP history, will once again serve as the backdrop for bringing people closer to their health. The community will start noticing DAP’s Mobile Testing Van, with staff dispensing anonymous HIV tests that are self-administered at home. Follow up and linkage to care is always offered with testing from DAP, and we are answering our patients calls for additional ways of HIV testing, accessible in more places.  A $10 gift card will be offered with each test. 

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

Everyday Heroes 2020: Honoring Valley Leaders 

Each year on World AIDS Day, DAP bestows the title of Everyday Hero to humanitarians in our Valley leading the way to help people thrive with HIV, and to help prevent new infections.  

COVID is not stopping us from honoring the following Everyday Heroes for 2020: Dr. Terri Ketover and Dr. Tom Truhe. 

We honor them for their years of dedicated service and generous contributions of their passion, time and talents to DAP, and thousands of lives touched by their incredible leadership.  

Familiar Worries for Long Term Survivors  

Danny Kopelson serves on DAP’s Client Advisory Board and considers himself as thriving with HIV, although living during a second major pandemic for him is full of reminders of the hardest days of HIV he survived 

When COVID was identified as a deadly virus, that immediately triggered a 40-year-old nightmare,” Danny says. “The bleak memories of AIDS in the 80s and 90s flooded into my head.” 

“Much of the language being used related to COVID is exactly the same as with AIDS,” says Danny.  

Familiar phrases and keywords can include testing positive or negative, antiretrovirals, antibody, resistance, viral loads. 

“This is not an everyday conversation, so hearing it on the news immediately takes me back to the past.” 

As life during COVID becomes a reality, keeping Virtual Visits with doctors and using Zoom meetings for wellness services and groups are keeping life open for Danny and others. 

“I’ve started to feel more hope,” he says. “I’ve gone back to doing yoga, meditating, volunteering and being in regular contact with family and friendsmasked, distanced and with Zoom. 

If you or anyone you know needs information about HIV treatment or prevention, visit daphealth.org. 

About DAP Health Center 

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

DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency. 

Visitwww.desertaidsproject.org to learn more. 

More HIV Care with Updated HIVMA Guideli …

More HIV Care with Updated HIVMA Guidelines

Dr. Tulika Singh noticing more equity in HIV care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transgender and Non-Binary Patients Added

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

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

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

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

U=U and Rapid Start ART

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

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

According to the update:

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

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

“Despite having extensive experience in HIV treatment and care, caregivers struggle to reduce high HIV prevalence and rising HIV incidence rates, due to delays in starting ART,” Dr. Singh says. “This is due to previous protocols and practicing traditional HIV medicine.”

DAP recently won designation as a Rapid ART Implementation Site, standing with just 10 other healthcare organizations in the U.S. The Award for Special Projects Of National Significance was won in a competitive grant process and is bestowed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Read more here.

About Desert AIDS Project

DAP Health (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

For more information, visit www.desertaidsproject.org

About U=U & Prevention Access Campaign

Prevention Access Campaign is a health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health. Find out more here.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) is a growing global community of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and over 990 Community Partners from 102 countries uniting to clarify and disseminate the revolutionary but largely unknown fact that people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV.  

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Uncovering New Reasons for Hope

Uncovering New Reasons for Hope  

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, October 31, 2020, from David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

Gratitude for a successful Desert AIDS Walk 2020 

COVID could not stop Desert AIDS Walk 2020, as this community laced up last weekend and walked to end HIV, support our COVID Clinic, and increase healthcare equity for all. With some slight reimagining, this community came together for the tradition safely and with a lot of love. 

We are so thankful to everyone who walked this year, as well as our sponsors who supported us.  

Sandie Newton hosted an NBC Palm Springs special broadcast featuring reasons this event is more important than ever. And to keep with tradition, you can hear the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus performing the opening song, beautiful rendition of “Rise Again”. 

Preventing Flu During COVID 

With a third wave of COVID upon us while flu season is also starting, many risk becoming co-infected with both viruses if they have not received their influenza vaccination.  

“It’s an especially important year to get your flu vaccine, says to Dr. David Morris, our chief medical officer. He and his team are concerned about our hospitals becoming overwhelmed with cases that could be prevented with a flu shot. Anyone who is interested in talking to someone about COVID and the flu should call our COVID Hotline at (760) 992-0407You can learn more in this DAP Talks.  

DAP Study: One Shot Every Two Months for Viral Suppression 

For some PLWHA, taking medication in pill form every day is difficult, and it can cause poor adherence that harms their health and puts others at risk. DAP Health is committed to offering more options for antiretroviral treatment (ART), and we are one of the few health centers in the U.S. working on a study using only six ART injections per year for viral suppression, with ViiV Healthcare. You can read more here

Revivals Stores Celebrating 25 Years Rei …

Revivals Stores Celebrating 25 Years

Reinventing resale to raise millions for DAP 

(760) 656-8401 
shenke@desertaidsproject.org 
Contact: Steven Henke 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

PALM SPRINGS, CA- October 30, 2020 – Revivals Stores, with locations in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs marks its 25th anniversary in business this month.  From its beginning as one store on Vela Rd. near the Palm Springs Airport in 1995, Revivals continues to keep customers, volunteers, and donors coming back, even during this health crisis.

Promotion to Thank Shoppers

To celebrate more than two decades of support and excellent shopping deals, Revivals Stores is inviting everyone to “Join the Treasure Hunt” and enjoy 50% OFF on select items throughout its stores beginning November 1 and extending through the 25th.

These special sale items will have a Revivals 25th Anniversary sticker on them and will be from Revivals new and resale inventory from all store departments.

Known for influencing Coachella Valley resale industry by combining vintage and retail, Revivals is well known for affordability, discoverability, and its commitment to community. 

100% of Revivals Stores profits (about $1 million annually) support comprehensive healthcare for the 7,000 residents of the Coachella Valley who call DAP their healthcare home.

The resale store chain’s broad community of generous donors guarantees a steady supply of stellar resale merchandise alongside brand-new furniture and home décor. 

Early Safety Modifications Paid Off

A major funding source for DAP Health, Revivals Stores implemented COVID safety measures over weeks of planning during the early months of the crisis. They include social distancing markers throughout the stores and some minor policy changes. To keep safety a priority, fitting rooms were closed, returns are no longer accepted, and customers now bag their own products unless it is a larger item that requires assistance.

“We quickly focused on how we could provide shoppers a safe Revivals experience,” says Dane Koch, DAP director of retail.  “Acting early has led to us being able to keep our doors open today and into the future.”

Volunteers Make Revivals Special

The retailer is also celebrating the volunteers who make Revivals a unique shopping experience. 

“For twenty-five years, volunteers at Revivals have been changing the world, one hour at a time,” says Marci Lerner, volunteer coordinator for Revivals Stores.  “We asked them to share why they donate their time and talent – the reasons are as unique as the volunteers themselves.”   

  • “As a retired IRS Agent, I like the focus and responsibility volunteering provides me.  It is especially important during COVID to keep my life on a steady keel.” – Steve S
  • “Volunteering provides me a unique opportunity to give back to an organization that has done and still is unreserved in its support of those who live with HIV and AIDS.  They have been a beacon of hope for so long.  It is a small, yet significant way for Revivals to continue to champion the needs of the community.” – Gary
  • “Volunteering helps me to feel part of the greater picture of supporting those in need.  It also enables me to use my skills to help others.  In addition, the social interaction and attention to detail assists in building cognitive strength.” – Guy
  • “Due to COVID, I’m unemployed and for the first time I have time to give back to my community.” – Sue
  • “Volunteering gives me purpose.  Revivals is the best volunteer organization.  What DAP services provide to clients is par none.  And the treatment of volunteers is amazing at Revivals.” – John

Revivals Stores Roots Are in Making Healthcare Attainable

The financial contribution that Revivals Stores provides to DAP Health is more important today than ever before, according to David Brinkman, CEO. 

“The AIDS crisis taught us that a community response is the most effective response if we want to address gaps in healthcare,” he said. “When people are in need and in fear, we must remember our humanity and take a place on the front lines.”

As DAP continues fighting to end HIV in the Coachella Valley, it has is also addressing healthcare inequities affecting the poor, which COVID has increased.

The Mystique of Revivals Stores

Revivals is reinventing resale, adding brand new items at affordable prices.  Selling never-used items such as bedding is old hat for the 25-year-old retailer; it’s been doing that for more than a decade-and-a-half. But five years ago, the decision was made to get into the new home décor business. Today, locals vote Revivals ‘Best Furniture Store’ because of its affordable collection of trend-right items. A leader in retail,  Revivals is the only thrift shop in America to feature its own brand of new furniture, lighting, rugs, and accessories. Shoppers at Revivals can choose from brand new furniture and accessories while mixing their new style with thrift store finds from the decade of their choice. 

“We saw a real need in the valley for merchandise that was stylish, had good quality and was affordable,” adds Dane Koch, director of retail. 

Revivals offers home furnishing from more than 50 vendors—including brand names such as Ashley, Diamond, and Coaster—but much of its inventory is custom-made for the store, and all of its selections fall under Revivals’ Mode label. While the Palm Springs shop focuses on all things midcentury modern, the Cathedral City branch trades on value, and the Palm Desert outlets’ assortment is more traditional in style. 

About Revivals Stores  

Revivals has three locations: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Desert.  The stores are staffed by 180 volunteers who support the mission of Desert AIDS Project (DAP), enabling Revivals to make an annual $1 million contribution to DAP. DAP has earned a national reputation as one of the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS service providers in the United States. Revivals employees and dedicated volunteers create a unique retail experience for the 29,000 people who shop the stores each month looking for a unique thrift store find while shopping brand new furniture and accessories. “There’s an excitement in our stores that you don’t feel at traditional retailers.  Part of that is the thrill of the hunt, but there’s something else happening and I think that is connection to community.  Our volunteers have created a unique community of neighbors helping neighbors inside Revivals three store locations.  They know we are selling product with a purpose,” says Director of Brand Marketing, Steven Henke. 

Greater Palm Springs residents know and love Revivals Stores and have voted it as Best Resale \ Thrift \ Furniture \ Consignment\ or Vintage Clothing Store in four local reader contests this year.   Revivals Stores won Best Furniture Store and Best Consignment / Resale Store in Desert Sun’s 2019 Ultimate Pride Contest, Best Consignment / Resale Store in Desert Magazine’s 2019 Best of the Valley, Best Thrift Store in CV Independents 2019 Best of Coachella Valley Contest, Best Thrift Store in GED Magazines 2019 Out Awards Contest, and Best Consignment / Best Thrift Store and Best Vintage Clothing Store in Palm Springs Life’s 2018 Best of the Best Contest.  

 
 Visit to learn more: desertaidsproject.org and revivalsstores.com 

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ViiV SOLAR Study at DAP: Injectable ART …

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

Diversity was key in choosing participants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once-Monthly CABENUVA is Available in Canada 

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

About DAP Health  

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

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

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

Visit www.daphealth.org to learn more.      

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

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

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 Is This Weekend

Media Alert

What:              Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is this weekend.

When:             Saturday and Sunday, October 23 & 24, 2020.

Where:            Online plus walk routes in Palm Springs and surrounding desert cities.

How:                Go to desertaidswalk.org for information and registration.

Why:                DAP needs community support for programs that offer our community:

          • Healthcare Access for All 
          • HIV/AIDS Education, Prevention & Care 
          • COVID-19 Clinic 

Health & Wellness Virtual Forum
Brought to you by Walgreens

Learn more about DAP’s programs and services, our sponsors, and community partners. Since we can’t inform, educate, and entertain in person we created a virtual forum for you to learn more about DAP’s programs and services, our dedicated community sponsors, and the extended work of our partners. We’ll send you a link before the virtual doors open.

Multiple Ways to Walk your Walk

We invite you to walk the familiar route that traditionally kicks off at Ruth Hardy Park where you might see a few surprises, but there are so many wonderful parks and trails across the Coachella Valley, why not visit one or more. Walking is good for the heart and soul. Click here to download the Ruth Hardy route. Suggested parks and trails in other neighborhoods include:

Demuth Park (Palm Springs)

Panorama Park (Cathedral City)

Guy J. Tedesco Park (Desert Hot Springs)

Michael S. Wolfson Park “Butler-Abrams Trail” (Rancho Mirage)

Civic Center Park (Palm Desert)

Bagdouma Park (Coachella)

South Jackson Park (Indio)

Capture and share your HOPE

Along the way there are plenty of opportunities for walkers to safely take selfies, like at new art installations, or designated stops to say hello to local businesses—all with the intention of sharing messages of HOPE via social media. 

In many ways, Desert AIDS Walk has always been virtual.  When it began thirty-four years ago, the first organizers say they did not know if the community would support it, but they knew the only way forward was together. Support from was instant, and their HOPE started to grow.  

 When walkers register, they will be given three clear reasons to walk in 2020:   

    • Healthcare Access for All 
    • HIV/AIDS Education, Prevention & Care 
    • COVID-19 Triage Clinic 

The reason for the Walk has never really been about balloon arches or walker t-shirts. It’s always been about the collective power of community and our shared vision of a future where everyone has the comprehensive care that they need to live their best lives.    

Desert AIDS Walk Paved Way For COVID Response

Because of community support, DAP developed the services needed to respond to the AIDS epidemic while creating a patient-centered model of care that helps people with HIV. 

Thirty-four years of walking created the roadmap DAP used to quickly open a COVID-19 Triage Clinic, which has provided testing and respiratory treatment to almost 3,500 residents since the pandemic began. Together we are boldly applying lessons from our past to today’s crisis.  

 
Desert AIDS Project CEO, David Brinkman explains: “By opening one of California’s first COVID clinics, DAP made a choice.  We are survivors; fear cannot rule us; when crisis sets it, we step forward.”  

  • We have the ability to end epidemics, including HIV and COVID 
  • We integrate Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment as critical components of Primary Care 
  • We address Social Determinates of Health, including racism and poverty, through our inclusive model of healthcare. 

With the ongoing courage and support of this community, our organization thrives.    

The AIDS crisis left unhealed wounds and it’s understandable that we may resist leaving our comfort zone.  But AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response.  It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help.   

And as we’ve learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.     You can find out more at www.DesertAIDSWalk.org.  

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.org to learn more.

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DAP Patients Joining ANCHOR Study for An …

DAP Patients Joining ANCHOR Study for Anal Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

More about ANCHOR Study

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

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

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a humanitarian healthcare organization in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STI testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the twelfth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency.

Visit www.desertaidsproject.org to learn more.

 

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Aging Positively Conference Offers Hope

Aging Positively Conference Offers Hope

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, October 10 From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

Over half of people living with HIV in the United States are 50 or older (CDC), and they often experience age-related illnesses earlier. COVID has compounded this as we see loneliness, depression, and PTSD become more prevalent.

We have the resources to help PLWHA thrive, and this year’s Aging Positively Conference is filling an important need for information and connection during COVID. DAP clinicians will be presenting topics for practical hope and living during COVID: addressing HIV treatment, coping with isolation, and even advice on dating. 

We are looking forward to hearing long-term HIV survivor and Broadway star of Hamilton, Javier Muñoz, share how he is using his passion and creativity to make a huge difference with Broadway Relief.

You can join this virtual conference from the safety of your home on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To find out more, click here.

Community Health Team Is Standing Up to COVID

COVID fear has many people skipping periodic STI screenings and sometimes, even basic self-care like eating and keeping warm. Sanitized and souped-up, our mobile testing van is in business and ready to bring testing, treatment, and linkage to care to those most at risk. C.J. Tobe, director of community health described his team’s efforts for improving public health during COVID. You can hear him in this week’s DAP Talks.

DAP In the News

We’re All In It Together: Desert AIDS Walk 2020

As the need for our services grows, sources for funding them are dwindling, especially with COVID. This year has challenged us and all humanitarian organizations in ways we could not have imagined. Our Board Chair Patrick Jordan talked to NBC Palm Springs anchor Thalia Hayden about why Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is more important than ever. You can watch here.

COVID Can’t Stop DAP STI Testing and Treatment

If we let the pandemic get in our way to end HIV and STIs in this Valley, we will only be compounding the tragedy of COVID. Over decades of doing this work, we have learned that to educate, test, and treat always strengthens public health, and it requires meeting our patients in ways that work for them. C.J. Tobe talked to Maria Sestito at The Desert Sun about the rise in testing and treatment for some STIs, and the need to remove stigma from sex during COVID. You can read more here.

Funding Infusion for DAP Continuum of HI …

Funding Infusion for DAP Continuum of HIV Care and Testing

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, October 10 From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO

If 90% of PLWHA begin antiretroviral treatment (ART) early enough, and they are consistently provided care, we will end HIV. Our work to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the Coachella Valley just received a big boost, thanks to a $1,250,000 grant from the San Bernardino County Human Services Administration Ending the Epidemic Initiative.

Over the five-year grant period, DAP will help reach the initiative’s goal to significantly reduce new HIV infections by 75%.

By sharing our best practices in testing, linkage to care, and keeping patients engaged in care for viral suppression, DAP is influencing improvements in treatment for PLWHA at a national level. 

You can read more here.

Why Darrell Tucci Believes in Desert AIDS Walk 2020

It’s hard to forget your first AIDS Walk, or your reason for participating that first time.  It could be to honor the special connections with people we lost, or because we wish to prevent suffering for someone we’ll never meet.

For some, walking to honor the memory of loved ones is only the beginning. Darrell Tucci, our Chief Development Officer described what led to his commitment and solidarity with others involved with ending the HIV epidemic. You can hear him in this week’s DAP Talks.

DAP In the News

Tour of New Blue and Green Clinics

Even as COVID shines a spotlight on serious healthcare inequalities everywhere, our new Blue and Green Clinics have expanded access to medical and mental care, plus wraparound services.

Our Director of Brand Marketing Steven Henke took NBC Palm Springs’ Taylor Martinez on a tour of the new clinics and talked about our work to continue expanding access during this pandemic.  

Still Made for Walking

Desert AIDS Walk 2020 is giving people more ways to feel connected to each other with selfie stops along the traditional Palm Springs route and plenty of space for socially distanced viewing of public art installations from local and international artists. The approach will help walkers reconnect with the beauty of our city in an outdoor setting with safety in mind.

Steven Henke took NBC Palm Springs’ Taylor Martinez on a tour of the walk route, including some of the best selfie spots. 

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