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

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

We can’t forget about HIV and STI …

We can't forget about HIV and STI epidemics

Sharing Decades of Know How Online

We’ve brought our collection of patient literature online, so that everyone can access and download information in pamphlet format from home. Written by staff, these resources provide need-to-know information for anyone interested in the services DAP is known for. Materials are offered in English and en Español. Topics include a COVID-19, HIV, STIs, Transgender Health, HCV and more. Click here to access the page to start downloading.

We Can’t Lose Fight With HIV Because of COVID-19

In June, our team tested and counseled three times as many people with new HIV infections, compared to any other month in the last year and-a-half. This tells us that the last five months of living in the “new normal” has made taking care of sexual health harder for people.

By using DAP’s new at-home HIV testing, no one has to put their health on hold if they are sheltering in place. Anyone interested in using this resource or with questions about accessing sexually health services should email testing@desertaidsproject.org or contact April Cruz at 760-656-8425.

Ongoing medical and behavioral healthcare, plus a lot of wellness services, are always offered when someone tests positive for HIV at DAP.

Spike in HIV and STIs

Our community’s health is threatened by steadily rising rates of HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia. Many DAP clients are feeling fatigued from socially isolating and nervous about coming indoors for testing and medical visits.

Before COVID-19, we were battling an STI epidemic in the Coachella Valley that hasn’t ended. June saw double new syphilis infections compared to May at DAP, and chlamydia has been on a rapid climb for six months.

Thanks to our Community Health team, our clients can continue routine STI and HIV testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here

Plasma Donation Changes Lives

Our Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tulika Singh never passes up an opportunity to pay it forward for others. After recovering herself, Dr. Singh wanted to make a difference by donating her plasma for a therapy that is helping the sickest COVID-19 patients.

“If I can help even just one person, that will be worth it.” She got her wish-- within 48 hours, she learned her plasma had reached two very sick people in need. 

Adding More to Grocery Delivery

So many of our clients who are sheltering-in-place are long-term HIV survivors, and they are re-experiencing PTSD from the worst days of the AIDS crisis.

Our food home delivery program has been helping them stay nourished with healthy groceries since March. Along with help from our Client Advisory Board, now we’re adding essential personal care and household cleaning items to these deliveries, starting next week. 

Everyday tasks like cleaning your kitchen countertop, and personal hygiene, help us stay healthier and more connected to living.

If you or someone you know are living with HIV and struggling to find support, please contact Guillermo Ramos at (760)323-2118.

This was made possible by our grants team, who saw this need and obtained funding through ‘HRSA Ryan White Part C-Covid’ to support the home delivery program to our patients and clients. We are so thankful for this vital help from HRSA.

Getting Re-Tested After Having COVID-19

Re-testing after you’ve had COVID-19 is a natural choice, but your doctor will know best when to re-test you, and which test to administer for the most accurate reading. Please call (760) 992-0407 if you’d like more information. You can read more in our updated Q&A on Coronavirus here.

Re-testing too quickly will not change your quarantine time, and it could provide false results. If you need follow-up care for symptom management, DAP is here for you. 

Spike in HIV and STIs Troubles Preventio …

Spike in HIV and STIs Troubles Prevention Experts at DAP

Palm Springs, CA (July 16, 2020) -- Steadily rising rates of HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia in the Coachella Valley are showing that the last five months of living in the “new normal” has interfered with people taking care of their sexual health. These rates pose a significant threat to our community, one that is already fatigued from socially isolating and nervous about coming indoors for testing and medical visits.

By using DAP’s new at-home HIV testing resources, clients no longer have to put their health on hold if they are sheltering in place. Anyone interested in using these resources or have questions about accessing sexually health services should email testing@desertaidsproject.org or contact April Cruz, Community Health Diagnostic Testing & Outreach Manager at 760-656-8425.

DAP Testing data from June shows why community health experts have reason to worry. According to DAP, there were:

  • Triple the amount of new HIV infections, compared to any other month in the last year and-a-half,
  • Double the amount of new syphilis infections compared to May,
  • Double the chlamydia cases (a six-month trend!).

“If we take our finger off the pulse of the existing HIV and STI epidemic, we will undo the progress we’ve made in preventing new transmissions,” said C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health. “The lack of routine testing and treatment is only going to add to the tragedy of COVID-19.”

What Is A Syndemic?

Together, HIV, HCV and STIs create a syndemic—a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes.

For example, having an STD increases the likelihood of acquiring HIV.  Among people who are living with HCV and HIV, HCV progresses faster and more than triples the risk for liver disease, liver failure, and liver related death. These epidemics are also driven by similar social and economic conditions and disproportionately impact many of the same disadvantaged communities.

DAP is part of End The Epidemics, a statewide working group of approximately 160 public health and community organizations urging Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to empower key stakeholders as soon as possible to fund and implement California’s strategy to end the HIV, HCV, and STI epidemics.

About End The Epidemics

The California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers, together with HIV, viral hepatitis, and STD community-based organizations across California, have launched a community-driven effort to inform development of a statewide plan to end the HIV, HCV, and STD epidemics in California. What makes this initiative innovative and unique – in addition to community leadership – is its ambitious goal of addressing these health conditions as a syndemic – a set of linked health problems that interact synergistically and exacerbate poor health outcomes. The syndemic approach differs from the biomedical approach in that it treats diseases concurrently and also addresses the social determinants of health that drive these epidemics. To learn more, visit: www.chprc.org/end-the-epidemics/

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Community Health Center 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 STD testing and treatment for only $25 per visit, 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 sixth 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.

Transgender Care at DAP Is Here For You

Transgender Care at DAP Is Here For You 

Transgender residents in California seeking culturally competent, compassionate medical and behavioral healthcare in a stigma-free setting can always get it at DAP, with help navigating coverage through Covered California as well. 

Visit https://www.daphealth.org/health-services/gender-affirming-care/  for more information. 

We asked Anthony Velasco, Co-Chair of DAP’s Transgender Health Programto help allies understand a little more about transgender people’s experiences with healthcare, and how we all have an opportunity to help create spaces that all are welcome in. 

Question: Some in healthcare wear their pronouns on their nametags (i.e., she, her, hers) What does it mean to a trans person when they see this on someone’s name tag when they come in for services? 

Answer: Pronouns matter --- acknowledging someone’s pronouns and using their pronouns is a sign of respect and courtesy. Wearing our pronouns on our nametags, identifying the pronouns we use when we introduce ourselves, and adding pronouns in our signature lines also creates a safe space for individuals who have experienced misgendering or those who are afraid to be misgendered. Wearing our pronouns on our nametags also signals to our patient that --- we see you, we acknowledge you, and you are safe with us. 

Question: How can we help people understand why so many trans people face barriers to basic healthcare? 

Answer: We need to talk about the stigma experienced by trans people throughout their lives 

Cis-centered and heteronormative policies and practices greatly limit the resources and opportunities for them and their communities.  

Many have reported delaying preventative care due to discrimination they have experienced from their health care providers, including verbal harassment. Many also report having to educate their doctors about gender affirming care when it should be the other way around. 

I believe that gender-affirming care should be integrated in primary care, and that primary care clinicians should be able to provide gender-affirming primary care.  

Question: How do we create a world with more culturally competent healthcare clinicians providing reliable transgender care services? 

Answer: Stigma against gender-diverse individuals has permeated in different levels of our society, and we must fight it all. We start this by integrating LGBTQ-health related content in medical, nursing, and allied health curricula.  

At most colleges, the median number of hours in the medical curriculum on LGBTQ health is only 5 hours, and even less for nursing curriculaAt Desert AIDS Project, we enrich this, ensuring that nursing and nurse practitioner students, medical students, and residents are exposed to health-related issues unique to the LGBT community.  

Providing all team members an understanding of how transphobia, homophobia, and racism all have direct impacts on our clients’ health is a core training aspect with our future clinicians at DAP. By doing this, not only are we able to model the values of inclusiveness and diversity we stand for, but we also shape future clinicians to value inclusiveness and diversity once they start their own professions. 

More about HHS removing ACA protections  

The news about HHS removing ACA nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people for health care and insurance does not affect access to care and services at DAP.  

At DAP, we offer our transgender and non-binary community culturally competent, compassionate medical and behavioral healthcare in a stigma-free setting. We also help them navigate through Covered California, our state’s insurance exchange, for access to MediCal or other options. We do not turn anyone away because they don’t have insurance.  

Anyone can still access Transgender Care at DAP. Thanks to our own state’s insurance practices and civil rights law, LGBTQ people remain protected. Unfortunately, transgender people do not have the same rights across the U.S.  

### 

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

Sexual Health Clinic - Palm Springs

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM (Closed for lunch from noon-1:00 PM)

Call 760-992-0492 to schedule an appointment.

To reach our after-hours answering service, please call (760) 323-2118.

Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing From DAP …

Media Contact

Jack Bunting

(760) 323-2118

COVID-19 Triage Clinic Hotline:

(760) 992-0407

Free COVID-19 Antibody Testing From DAP at FIND Free Mobile Market Community Food Distribution

When: This Thursday, June 25, 2020, from 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Where: James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center 480 W Tramview Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262

This Thursday, DAP will be providing no-charge asymptomatic COVID-19 antibody testing and educational materials to the public during FIND’s free Community Mobile Market food distribution at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center. This testing will take place from inside the DAP Mobile Testing Van.

DAP is committed to offering COVID-19 rapid antibody testing to our community, especially people facing financial challenges during this time. Our team will also be able to talk to anyone about our One Call program. This service helps people into insurance enrollment and healthcare services by making just one phone call to DAP at (760) 992-0426.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in healthcare access in the United States. CDC data shows that the death rates among Black and LatinX people are much higher than for white people, in all age categories.

According to CDC data, Black Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities. In 2018, Black Americans accounted for 13% of the US population, but 42% of the 37,832 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.

For anyone interested, free HIV and HCV testing will also be available from DAP staff at that location that day. Community members who are unable to attend the June 25 event are encouraged to call DAP's COVID-19 Triage Clinic hotline to schedule a test by calling (760) 992-0407.

FIND Food Bank distributes food the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center. DAP typically provides HIV and HCV testing at this venue, and regularly partners with FIND for the health of the community. Read more about FIND Food Bank here.

Accessing healthy food in the Desert Highland Neighborhood has always been a challenge for residents. But after public outcry and a supporting health study by Loma Linda University Health and Desert Health Care District, providing nutritious options for people there has become top-of-mind for local leadership and community organizations. Read more here.

Hurdles Accessing Enough Food

Food Insecurity is an economic or social indicator of the health of the community with a direct correlation to poverty levels and poor health outcomes. At least 50% of our clients receive Supplementary Security Income, based on disability, which renders them ineligible for the CalFresh food "stamp" program. Other clients who are eligible for Cal-Fresh receive $16-$30 per month; amounts that are insufficient to fully alleviate food insecurity. Since DAP's founding, food assistance has been a vital component of our integrated approach to service delivery, based on the Chronic Care Model, a system of care that emphasizes patient self-management skills, and the Patient-Centered Medical Home model, which facilitates partnerships between patients and their healthcare providers.

About Our Clients

DAP serves vulnerable low-Income persons and families living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level inclusive of all races, ethnicities, gender orientation, and sexual identity, in addition to low-income people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Over one-third of DAP's patients/clients who are living with HIV are aged 50 years and older. DAP is well aware of the needs of clients and patients confronted by numerous complications of surviving long-term with HIV, including subsisting on fixed incomes.

About Desert AIDS Project

Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center 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 and www.thedockclinic.org to learn more.

###

Get Access To the Care You Need

One Call is a service that can enroll callers in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register them for medical and behavioral healthcare, and schedule their first appointment at DAP — all in approximately 45 minutes. This is a significant reduction in the amount of time this would normally take, thanks to a DAP Healthcare Navigator who will work one-on-one with each caller.

Callers can access One Call service by calling 760-992-0426, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm PDT.

Sexual Health Clinic - Palm Springs

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM (Closed for lunch from noon-1:00 PM)

Call 760-992-0492 to schedule an appointment.

To reach our after-hours answering service, please call (760) 323-2118.

Good mental health also vital in coronav …

Good mental health also vital in coronavirus pandemic. A therapist can help.

COVID-19 has triggered fear and grief for many as we grapple with multiple losses. The fear of getting sick, losing one’s job, paying the bills, not being able to protect or care for elderly parents, etc., is compounded by the loss of routine, familiarity, consistency, and confidence. Uncertainty and the disruption of daily norms only increases grief and anxiety. 

Now, more than usual, most of us could benefit from the expertise provided in therapy. People need support during this very challenging time, and mental health professionals are offering the tools necessary to help people cope.

The good news is that it's easier to access therapy now, because psychologists are using Virtual Visits and teleconferences to hold therapy sessions with their clients. Waiting lists are actually dwindling, and clients are getting help.

During this unprecedented time, therapy can help us distinguish the rational from the irrational. We may not even be consciously aware of own negative thoughts and how they make our situations worse. Therapists can help us identify the erroneous negative self-talk and faulty thinking that causes so much unnecessary emotional distress. 

We are able to increase awareness of this negative self-talk that causes stress, and develop a new, more accurate and positive perspective. Therapy provides a chance for people to think deeply about their emotional well-being, and prioritize their mental health. Collaboratively with the support of a therapist, we are able to face our fears and develop action plans that will move us through the paralysis of fear to empowerment. 

More than anything, psychotherapy is a reflective process that helps us better understand our experience so we can shape positive outcomes. Right now, we all need the opportunity to reflect on how COVID-19 has impacted us. It is a global, collective trauma the world has never seen in this century. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the enormity of what we’re facing, and to slide into self-destructive behaviors. 

In therapy we learn how to engage positive coping skills instead of relying on destructive, negative strategies, such as overeating, or substance use. Therapists can assist us develop solutions to reduce stress. In the safety of a therapeutic alliance, we access internal and external resources and as a result, avoid negative consequences. 

Would you like to talk to a therapist in person or virtually? Desert AIDS Project offers essential therapy from wherever you are. Our therapists are here to care for you. Call (760) 992-0450 to find out more.

Get Insurance and Care with DAP

Get Insurance and Health Care 

DAP can help you enroll in health insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California, register you in medical and behavioral health care, and schedule your first appointment at DAP. 

The DAP campus is open for in-person and virtual visits. Complete the form below to be quickly connected to care.

Se ofrecen pruebas gratuitas y confidenc …

Se ofrecen pruebas gratuitas y confidenciales de VIH y Hepatitis C en nueva unidad móvil

by Ruth Diaz De Leon, Community Health Educator 

En Desert AIDS Project, entendemos que nuestra comunidad tiene muchas preocupaciones por  la pandemia de la COVID19, pero podemos asegurarles que estamos tomando todas las precauciones necesarias para proteger la salud de nuestra comunidad. Todos los pacientes son evaluados previamente para detectar posibles síntomas de la COVID19 antes de ser atendidos para recibir servicios.

El Departamento de Community Health estará ofreciendo pruebas confidenciales en nuestra unidad móvil que se ubicará directamente al frente de las clínicas Verde y Azul.

Ofrecemos pruebas gratuitas de VIH y Hepatitis C, así como pruebas de Syphilis, Chlamydia y Gonorrea con un costo de $25 dólares, en Desert AIDS Project, no rechazamos a las personas por no poder pagar.

También ofrecemos información/educación sobre cualquiera de las pruebas que hacemos.

Estaremos disponibles Lunes a Viernes de 8am- 5pm con nuestra ultima cita a las 3:30pm.

Gracias por considerarnos para sus necesidades de salud sexual.

DAP Dental Services During COVID-19

To our valued dental patients:

Due to COVID-19, the government and the American Dental Association request our dental services be limited to urgent/emergency dental care. 

Routine procedures, including hygienist appointments and routine examinations, will be deferred until we can return to full operation.  

We remain available for Emergency Care if you are experiencing serious pain; signs of infection and or swelling; or if you require a temporary crown to replace one that has been lost or broken.

Should you have a dental emergency or other questions concerning your dental care, please do not hesitate to call our office at 760-992-0460, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm and someone will be happy to assist you. Your concern will be evaluated in consultation with the dentist, who will determine if an appointment is needed.  If you are unable to reach our staff, please leave a message and your call will be returned on the next business day.

A member of our dental team will contact you when the Dental Clinic resumes normal operations to schedule your return appointment.  

Should you have questions related to COVID-19, please call the DAP COVID-19 Hotline at 760-992-0407.

Most sincerely,

Carol A. Wood, BS, RN, NHA, CHA, CFN, Director of Clinical Operations                                 

Ryan Yamashiro, DDS, Dental Director

Drive-Up Services Expand COVID-19 Evalua …

Drive-Up Services Expand COVID-19 Evaluations at DAP

Palm Springs, CA -- April 7, 2020 -- The COVID-19 Triage Clinic at Desert AIDS Project (DAP) announced it has added Drive-Up service for people who qualify for testing to be evaluated and swabbed for COVID-19 in their vehicles. With this approach, DAP hopes to reduce exposures to Coronavirus and divert potentially infected patients who are not seriously ill from emergency departments and doctor’s offices.

Telephone screening is required for Drive-Up service before coming to DAP. Call our COVID-19 hotline at (760) 992-0407 for more information.

Drive-Up service is part of DAP’s commitment to keep fighting on behalf of our community against COVID-19. Parked in designated spaces, clients remain in their cars while clinicians conduct all necessary testing and evaluation at the driver or passenger window.

By seeing clients with less severe symptoms this way, we are conserving space inside the COVID-19 Triage Clinic for people who need it most.

Currently, the COVID-19 Triage Clinic at Desert AIDS Project can serve approximately 20 clients per day. By adding Drive-Up service, the total number of clients the clinic serves will increase to approximately 40-50.

While staying home remains the safest plan for most who are ill, getting respiratory illness symptoms checked by a clinician is important, especially a dry cough or a fever of 100.4 or higher. The clients who will be served by Drive-Up Triage at DAP currently might not feel sick enough to ask to see a healthcare clinician.

“These are the folks who have been told to stay home with their symptoms,” said Dr. Christopher Foltz, director of COVID-19 Triage Clinic at DAP. “We don’t want to miss anyone.”

Drive-up service is also a good alternative for people who feel anxious about entering an indoor healthcare setting currently, but who want to keep themselves well and others safe during this health crisis. It’s also useful for people who don’t have symptoms but have had direct exposure to someone confirmed with COVID-19.

DAP and Trenton Ducati announce a new co …

DAP and Trenton Ducati announce a new collaborative for sexual stigma busting in the age of COVID-19.

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

Media Alert:

Who: DAP and Trenton Ducati

What: Teaming up to talk about sex in the age of COVID-19

Where: Online and radio

When: Throughout spring 2020

Why: Despite social distancing in the age of COVID-19, people are putting themselves and others at risk by seeking in-person hookups, using social media apps.

How:  Coming to the community in a series of live online events, ads and blog posts

Palm Springs, CA March 30, 2020 -- Desert AIDS Project (DAP) and Trenton Ducati announce a new collaborative for sexual stigma busting in the age of COVID-19.  Exploring new ways of sexual expression that adhere to social distancing, both will bring their expertise in their fields in an effort to keep sexual wellness on the minds and lips of anyone who might be at risk.

DAP has been fighting sexual stigma in the Coachella Valley for 36 years and will provide fact-based, sex-positive information through leaders like C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health at DAP.

Trenton Ducati is a leading gay adult film star who’s also established himself as a producer and promoter. He owns adult brands like Ducati Studios, Gentlemen’s Closet, Nasty Daddy, and TrentonDucati.com. He will share insights from trends he sees in the adult entertainment industry.

“COVID-19 has changed the world, including our sex lives,” said C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health at DAP. “We want our community to continue talking openly and honestly about sexual health in this new era.”

Desert AIDS Project offers judgement free HIV testing, PrEP/PEP services, and STI testing and treatment regardless how you practice social distancing.

“I’m ecstatic to work with DAP to get the message out,” said Trenton Ducati. “Let’s save our community by turning on some porn and staying home.”

For a look at DAP’s kick-off piece A Guide to Sex during COVID-19 click here.

About Desert AIDS Project
Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center 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.orgwww.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.

###