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DAP Docs: HIV Won’t Stop COVID-19 Vacc …

Dr Tulika Singh

DAP Docs: HIV Won’t Stop COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Participation 

Media Contact:
Jack Bunting
(760) 323-2118
[email protected]

PLWH are commonly overlooked as subjects in pharmaceutical studies and vaccine research, so our doctors practice extra caution when choosing medicines for patients. But when they learned that PLWH were being left out of two COVID-19 vaccine trials, they mobilized.

Thanks to our team joining forces with other LGBTQ and HIV advocates, biotech companies have reversed their policies. In a study protocol change, people living with stable HIV will now be included in the trials.

Reasons for excluding this group include assuming that PLWH are weakened physically, but after more than a decade of providing HIV care, Dr. Singh knows this to be a generalization. Today, people on antiretroviral medications have strong immune systems, thanks to viral suppression. They are suitable candidates for these studies.

According to Dr. Singh, there is a risk when PLWH are not included in these studies.

“This is a disservice to them, as what works for non-positive people might not work in PLWH,” she said. “But we wouldn’t know until it fails or is unsafe in this population, and it’s too late by then.”

Without having PLWH represented in COVID-19 vaccine trials, we won’t have an accurate picture of how PLWH will respond to the intervention in the real world, according to Dr. Singh.

It’s important to know, because despite the miracle of modern ART, doctors still monitor their patients for immune dysfunction, persistent inflammation, and evolving host microbiome issues caused by the HIV virus and medications.

Please click here to learn more about Research at DAP, including ANCHOR Study, which is resuming soon.

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (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, 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.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

Proposed Federal Budget Cuts Could Drama …

Congressman Ruiz, M.D. and Community Say No to Slashing Medicare and Medicaid

Local healthcare providers stand up for affordable care

DAP thanks Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) for speaking out against the proposed federal budget for Fiscal Year 2021, which would cut $1.6 trillion from health care programs over the next 10 years. Dr. Ruiz brought attention to the steep cuts the proposed budget would bring to programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We applaud the Congressman's commitment to ensuring our Coachella Valley community has access to quality and affordable healthcare. 

To learn more, please watch our live stream below or visit https://ruiz.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/trump-prepares-visit-palm-springs-area-congressman-raul-ruiz-md-takes

D.A.P. Revises HIV Prevention Guidelines

For Immediate Release
April 25, 2017
Contact: Tom Tarr, Director of Client Development
Tel: 760-656-8460
Email: [email protected]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Desert AIDS Project

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

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

Join the fight to save health care for p …

Congress is rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as soon as President-Elect Donald Trump takes office. Congress does not have a replacement health care plan and there is no guarantee that millions of Americans will continue to have access to quality, affordable health care. Low-income people living with HIV and viral hepatitis are particularly at risk, as they rely on access to affordable insurance and medications to stay healthy.

Members of Congress, including some in California, have said that their constituents do not depend on the ACA for quality, affordable health insurance. We need your help to educate members of Congress and save the ACA!

This week is a national week of action for health care and we are asking you to do two things: Call your senators and representative. 

1. Call your senators and representative. You can find yours here. You can then call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and a switchboard operator will connect you directly with the congressional office you request.

Sample message: Do not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. It will cause millions of Americans to lose health care and create chaos in the U.S. health care system. [If you can, please share what health coverage means to you, your family, and your community.]

2. Families USA, one of our national partners, is mobilizing health care advocates and patients across the country to raise awareness about the dangers of repealing the ACA. Join their “Protect Our Care” thunderclap today, asking Congress to protect healthcare. Learn more here.

Thank you for taking action to protect health care access for millions of people across the country!

Yours in health,
David Brinkman
Desert AIDS Project