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

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

The Affordable Care Act put chronically …

For people living with HIV/AIDS, and the clinicians and advocates caring for them, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was almost too good to be true when it was introduced in 2010. Suddenly, chronic disease management was available to the uninsured, the uninsurable and for the poor. This included the preventive and wellness services required for living into old age with HIV/AIDS.

Until this point, being HIV positive and uninsured caused incredible uncertainty for many who were just trying to stay alive. And for those struggling with addiction and/or mental illness alongside HIV, adherence to treatment was even more challenging and the danger of developing AIDS was more likely.

Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is very blessed to have a volunteer workforce of about 600 and a paid staff of about 250. And our valley is probably the most generous community anywhere when it comes to charitable giving.HIVlivng But the ACA has done something for our clients living with HIV/AIDS that love alone could not. It has made them proactive participants in their own health care, regardless of employment status or pre-existing health conditions. Life-sustaining primary care has been made available to them while they are still well, so that they can partner with their clinicians to make sure the virus stays suppressed in their bodies, and that additional complications from living with HIV/AIDS can be managed.

Before the ACA, our uninsured clients living with HIV/AIDS would wait months for specialized and lifesaving treatments at county facilities after being referred by a D.A.P. clinician. We are so thankful for the life-sustaining treatments administered there, but the reality is that long waiting lists for the uninsured resulted in many of our clients dying.Even with medications available to treat their HIV, opportunistic infections and cancers threatened to take their lives, and often did so without timely medical intervention. Today, thanks to insurance provided through the ACA we do not have to worry about long waiting lists for our patients. That is cause for celebration.

In addition to helping our core client group live longer and more meaningful lives, the ACA has enabled us to open our doors wider to care for people in our community who might not have HIV, but who face other health care needs.

  • More than half of our 5,500 clients are HIV negative. They receive primary medical care, regular checkups and health screenings and they receive care for more serious health issues when they need it.
  • Our Behavioral Health Program is helping approximately 700 clients receive the support they need, utilizing psychiatry, psychology and group sessions, whether they live with HIV/AIDS or not.
  • We have become known for our program to cure Hepatitis C, a silent killer that is threatening the lives of about 5,000 people locally.
  • Our Transgender Care Program is led by award-winning staff dedicated to linking our transgender siblings in the Inland Empire to gender-affirming health care.

In Riverside County by 2017, approximately 400,000 adults caught in the coverage gap had been given access to medical care. In less than 10 years, the ACA has elevated the quality of health care and made it accessible for all residents.

If it were to be abolished, we would go back to a time of needless mortality and more people living in the shadows. That is a fate that this valley cannot face.

Hepatitis Center of Excellence

The Hepatitis Center of Excellence, located at Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.), is designed to address a serious and growing need for Hepatitis care in the local community.  D.A.P. works in collaboration with Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) to staff the Center with Infectious Disease Physicians and Pharmacists who specialize in Hepatitis care.

Located at D.A.P.’s main campus in Palm Springs, the Hepatitis Center of Excellence delivers comprehensive, state-of-the-art expertise to manage, support and cure those afflicted with Hepatitis. Services 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 Hepatitis Center of Excellence provides 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 antiviral medication(s).

The Hepatitis Center of Excellence offers state-of-the-art 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.

For Hepatitis C information, testing, or treatment, please call the Hepatitis Center of Excellence at 760-992-0426 to schedule an appointment. 

33rd Anniversary Campaign

Is PrEP right for YOU?

Are you HIV negative but are at very high risk for HIV? Taken every day, PrEP can help keep you free from HIV.

What is PrEP?
PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a daily medicine that can reduce your chances of getting HIV. PrEP can help stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. Daily PrEP reduces risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces risk by more than 70%. Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.

Is PrEP for you?
PrEP may benefit you if you are HIV negative and ANY of the following apply to you.

You are a gay/bisexual man and
• Have an HIV-positive partner
• Have multiple partners a partner with multiple partners, or a partner whose HIV status is unknown – and you also; have sex without a condom, or recently had a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
You are heterosexual and
• have an HIV-positive partner.
• have multiple partners, a partner with multiple partners, or a partner whose HIV status is unknown – and you also; don’t always use a condom for sex with people who inject drugs, don’t always use a condom for sex with bisexual men.
You inject drugs and
• Share needles or equipment to inject drugs
• Recently went to a drug treatment program
• Are at risk for getting HIV from sex.

Visit your doctor
• To find out if PrEP is right for you
• Every 3 months, if you take PrEP, for repeat HIV tests, prescription refills, and follow-up.
• If you have any symptoms while taking PrEP that become severe or don’t do away.

How can you get help paying for PrEP?
• Most private and state Medicaid plans cover PrEP. If you are on Medicaid, check with your benefits counselor.
• Schedule an appointment with our PrEP Benefits Navigation Specialist by calling 1-760-992-0492.
• Walk-in The DOCK, 1695 N. Sunrise Way (at Vista Chino), Monday – Friday 10am – 6:30 PM, to receive benefits assistance.

Content source: Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionNational Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexual Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis PreventionCenters for Disease Control and Prevention

Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala

Thanks for joining us at this year’s Gala!

Check out our online auction
View photos from our TapSnap booth
2016 Steve Chase Gala Program

Since 1995, the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala has raised millions of dollars for direct client services at Desert AIDS Project.

Thanks to our 2016 Sponsors



Eisenhower Medical Center
Harold Matzner


Annette Bloch
Desert Regional Medical Center
Harbinger Pictures
Helene Galen
Integrated Wealth Management
One America
Steve Tobin


Contour Dermatology
Elgart Aster & Paul Swerdlove
Reaction Marketing


Steven Anders/Wade Endowment Fund
Bank of America
Dash and a Handful Catering
Desert Sun
Event Management Productions
Walter Leiss
James Fielding & Edison Briones
ITEX of the Desert Empire
Patrick Jordan
Kaiser Permanente
Barbara & Jerry Keller
Dr. Terri Ketover & Dr. Bart Ketover
Dorothy & Mel Lefkowitz
Dave Morgan
Bruce Purdy & Barrett Shepard
Dr. Suzanne Quardt & Rick Manzano
Renaissance Hotel
Savoury’s Catering
Time Warner Cable
UCR School of Medicine


Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
Air Dimensional Design
The Five Hundred
Frank Kurland
David Lee
Gary Gaiser
City of Palm Springs
Pediatrix Medical Group
Quantum Medical Radiology
City of Rancho Mirage
Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler
Smirnoff, Diageo
Union Bank
Vaso Bello Celebrations


Robert Archer & Charles Hilliar
Supervisor John Benoit
Mark Hamilton
David Hockney
Dr. Babak Khazaeni
Signs by Tomorrow
Trick Dog Films
Jim Watterson & George Martin


The Advocate
CV Independent
Desert Charities News
Gay Desert Guide
Jones Agency
LIVE Magazine
Palm Springs Life
The Standard
Time Warner

Partners For Life Award: Jim Burba and Bob Hayes – In addition to being the sponsor for Lorna Luft’s 2013 Community Service award, the life-and-business-partners a year earlier pledged $10,000 at the 2012 gala. Although they produce conferences around the world for the hotel and tourism investment community, Palm Springs holds a special place in their heart … and their philanthropy.

100 Women Award: Carolyn Caldwell – president and CEO of Desert Regional Medical Center (DRMC,) Carolyn joined D.A.P.’s board in late 2012. Just a year later, she had secured a $1.5 million gift from DRMC’s parent, Tenet Healthcare, as lead sponsor of Get Tested Coachella Valley. Caldwell has been honored by the City of Palm Springs Human Rights Commission and for her ongoing commitment to affordable healthcare for everyone, including her role as one of the “champions” for Get Tested Coachella Valley. She currently serves as the chair of D.A.P.’s medical committee for the board of directors.

Arts and Activism Award: Jim Casey – co-chair of the Steve Chase gala for seven years with Barbara Keller, during which time Casey’s company, Integrated Wealth Management, contributed $1.5 million as presenting sponsor. Casey continues to be closely involved with D.A.P. both as a major donor and volunteer.

New Generation Arts and Activism Award: Danny Pintauro

2015 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala Co-Hosts
As one of the 2016 gala’s co-hosts, Leslie Jordan is perhaps best-known to most of us as Beverley Leslie from the smash hit TV show “Will & Grace,” for which he won an Emmy in 2006. Through movie writer-director Del Shores, his special connection to Palm Springs is perhaps his institutionalized-drag-queen Brother Boy character in the cult classic “Sordid Lives” which takes an hysterical look at family dysfunction beyond extreme.

No matter Jordan’s stature of just 4’11”, he will undoubtedly hold his own with the considerably more statuesque Ethylina Canne, who brings a special mix of sass and likeability to any stage. Growing up on a farm in scenic Morro Bay, a love of show tunes and “anything sparkly” was noticeable at a very early age. Fast forward to Palm Springs by way of San Francisco drag stages, she soon made herself known by winning the 1st Annual Desert Drag Race at Toucans Tiki Lounge and then Fan Favorite at D.A.P.’s 1st Annual Queen of the Desert benefit. Ethylina has endeared herself to many D.A.P. supporters ever since by always being ready whenever called on.

Gala attendees may not be ready for this 2016 co-host team … but that’s bound to be part of the fun!

2016 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala Co-Chairs

Patrick Jordan is a long-time member of D.A.P.’s Partners For Life annual giving program, a current D.A.P. board member, and a top fundraiser for the annual Desert AIDS Walk. Before his local success as a highly-successful broker at Bennion & Deville Homes, this honoree of the 2011 Partners for Life Award had a long career in the music industry.

Dave Morgan is also a long-time member of Partners For Life, as well as a sponsor of past Steve Chase galas, where he received the 2015 Partners For Life Award. He created the very popular Dancing with the Desert Stars fundraiser and his company, Reaction Marketing and Promotions, has produced it for each of its four years, raising more than $250,000 for D.A.P.

Dr. Suzanne Quardt, popularly known as “Dr. Q,” is a very active member of D.A.P.’s 100 Women annual giving program that supports programs and services for women and children whose lives are affected by HIV. She also serves on several committees at Eisenhower Medical Center, as their immediate past Chief of Plastic Surgery, and is an active supporter of the Women Leaders Forum and the American Heart Association.

Past Gala Information

First organized by and named for famed interior designer Steve Chase, these galas are a prime highlight of the desert community’s social season! Honorees, award presenters, and entertainers in the past years have included: Carol Channing, Matt Bomer, Peter Gallagher, Ann Margret, Tom Hanks, Betty Ford, Diahann Carrol, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Patti LaBelle, Betty White, Shirley MacLaine, Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Debbie Reynolds and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Client’s Bill of Rights


  1. Be treated in a respectful manner that honors your dignity and privacy.
  2. Not be discriminated against in the delivery of health care treatment based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability or source of payment.
  3. Know the reason for tests and treatment and understand the benefits and risks.
  4. Receive comprehensive health care provided in a safe and clean environment and in an accessible manner.
  5. You have the right to talk with a health care provider in private and have your personal health care information kept private as protected under state and federal laws.
  6. Have our staff explain advance directives or other confidential rights you may have.
  7. To get accurate, easy-to-understand information and have someone help you make informed health care decisions.
  8. Have an interpreter available if your primary language is not English.
  9. Refuse treatment and be informed of the consequences.
  10. The right to notify your physician when a second opinion is desired.


  1. Participate in the development and implementation of your care. A Client may also designate a health spokesperson.
  2. To be fully engaged in the services provided, including frequency of services and to participate in decisions regarding your care and treatment objectives.
  3. Provide a correct and complete medical history, including information about past illness, medication, hospitalization or other related information.
  4. Ask questions if you do not understand documents you are asked to sign or your confidential rights to use and disclosure of your health care information.
  5. Notify us if you are already established with another provider or agency and your choice of Laboratory/Pharmacy or other health care service you want to use.
  6. Accept the consequences of refusing treatment recommended by the Physician.
  7. Voice any concerns or dissatisfactions you may have with your care.
  8. Notify D.A.P. immediately of any changes in your residence, telephone number or financial status.
  9. Treat our staff with respect and consideration.
  10. Pay required fees as appropriate.

D.A.P. exemplifies essential components …

A newly released policy paper published last month by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) outlines the essential requirements of an effective HIV care model. Desert AIDS Project achieves many of the goals, services and elements outlined in the policy paper for promoting positive health outcomes for HIV-positive people. The paper states that, among other things, the major elements for an effective HIV care model include:

  • HIV testing within communities combined with efficient linkage to HIV care providers and specialty care
  • Access to integrated medical care all under one roof, commonly implemented through the “medical home” model
  • A holistic approach towards care that provides social services for clients

HIV testing and linkage to care
Free and confidential HIV testing is available in various cities throughout Riverside County through Desert AIDS Project. In total, Desert AIDS Project has initiated testing efforts in over 20 communities and groups throughout our service-area. Health Educators and Early Intervention Specialists link any person who is HIV-positive with the services here.

Medical Home model
We provide a majority of our services all under one roof at our Palm Springs campus. Case management and primary and specialty care providers form the base of care operations here. Case managers assist clients to identify needs and coordinate the variety of clinical and social services required to remove barriers to, avoid duplication of, and maintain engagement in care. Telemedicine capabilities in conjunction with off-site partners allow D.A.P. clients to receive some medical advice without having to schedule appointments elsewhere. Gynecologic services for women ensure our HIV-positive female clients receive thorough medical care.  The three-year old dental clinic at the Palm Springs campus – Riverside county’s first HIV-specialty dental clinic – is also a testament to the integrated medical care model that we strive to offer for clients.

HIV providers and expertise
Well-qualified physicians make up the HIV care team at Desert AIDS Project at the main campus in Palm Springs. Our staff of  providers demonstrates HIV expertise and experience with specialty training. Five providers of HIV care in our medical clinics are Certified HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVS). There is no higher credential one can earn specific to HIV. These providers are Dr. Hawthorne, Dr.Kerkar, Physician’s Assistant Jean Davis, Ph.D and Dr.Shiu. Even D.A.P. specialists Dr. Dew, certified in Preventative Medicine/Public Health and Occupational Medicine, and psychiatrist Dr. Torban, who has been recognized as one of America’s Top Psychiatrist’s, make certain that D.A.P. clients receive the best relevant care no matter what. Dr Hawthorne–who holds both AAHIVS certification and is certified in Infectious Diseases by the American Board of Internal Medicine–currently, serves as D.A.P.’s Interim Medical Director.

Holistic care and social services
Access to essential HIV medications and holistic social services also show that D.A.P. is on the right track . Clients have access to a Walgreens pharmacy on site that contains all of the stock of a regular pharmacy, while also carrying essential HIV medications. Eligible clients can also receive nutrition and food assistance through our monthly farmer’s market at the Food Depot or obtain help navigating housing opportunities. Support groups, nutrition workshops, alcohol and substance abuse counseling, yoga & meditation classes, and access to legal services round out some of the social services offered at D.A.P.

It is clear that Desert AIDS Project is on the right path for promoting positive health outcomes for our clients by providing effective, integrated care under one roof and taking a holistic approach towards HIV/AIDS treatment. We will continue to meet the evolving needs of our clients to ensure everyone in our community has a right to a decent quality of life.