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

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

Revivals and The Bobs

Fighting e-waste with “the Bobs” at Revivals 

Revivals Stores agrees with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and sees the value of electronics that can be reused, refurbished, or recycled to minimize the actual waste that might end up in a landfill. This helps prevent polluting at unprotected dump sites in the Coachella Valley, and at locations abroad where it might be shipped.  

There is good reason for this concern. Although electronics waste (e-waste) represents 2% of America's trash in landfills, it equals 70% of overall toxic waste, due to the presence of heavy metals. (EPA) 

The EPA also says donating used (but still operating) electronics for reuse helps prevent waste and pollution. Embracing resale extends the lives of valuable products and keeps them out of landfills. And if fewer new units need to be manufactured to meet consumer needs, our carbon footprint falls more. 

Revivals Stores has been fighting e-waste in the Coachella Valley for years by helping shoppers find useable electronics in great condition for a low price. But before items make it to the sales floor, sometimes they need to spend time in rehab with a pair of volunteer repairmen who have been compared to the dynamic duo.  

“The Bobs” help make Revivals Stores a go-to for historic electronics pieces that work like new, plus newer items ready for use. 

“We’re both electronic nerds,” Bob H. says.  

Busy year-round, their work receives extra attention during Palm Springs Modernism Week every February and October when period-specific pieces are in highest demand.  

“The Bobs” are driven to give back to their community by helping fight e-waste while expanding access to healthcare for patients at DAP Health.  

“We have a small footprint in our work area with the highest return for DAP Health, and all that money goes to services,” Bob L. explains. “You can't get much better than that.” 

Both say that volunteering for Revivals Stores has provided them with something meaningful and fulfilling, on top of their career accomplishments.  

“When I retired, I wanted to find something that enables me to have this feeling that I am giving back something to my community,” says Bob H. “You walk out of here at the end of the day and feel like you've accomplished something.” 

Volunteering helps Bob L. tap into motivation he felt during his earlier career.  

“I have tried to always find a place in my career that when we finish, the community's in a better position, people are healthier and they're safer.” 

Volunteering at Revivals gives that to him. 

“The thing about DAP Health is it has a very dynamic ability to respond to the needs in the community as they change, to evaluate them and deliver services, whether it's medical assistance or counseling or support.” 

For store locations or to learn more about Revivals, please visit their website: revivalsstores.com

Annette Bloch – The Gift of Giving

Annette Bloch at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards

The Gift of Giving

For the late philanthropist Annette Bloch, sharing her blessings was a way of life 

By Daniel Vaillancourt 

Over the course of writing the show script for the last 11 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards for DAP Health (formerly Desert AIDS Project), I’ve had many encounters with the extraordinary humanitarian Annette Bloch, who passed away of cancer at the age of 94 in her hometown of Kansas City last year. 

The diminutive philanthropic powerhouse spent winter seasons in Palm Springs, first with husband Richard, of H&R Block fame, then later in life — following Richard’s death, also to cancer — with life partner Andrei T. Muresan. Bloch was a quite formidable presence in all corners of our community, attending benefits, volunteering, or dining out with dear friends. 

It’s at DAP Health’s biggest annual gala that I personally basked in her aura, coaching her at rehearsals or bantering backstage during the customarily star-studded show. At soirées such as these, Bloch was perennially coiffed, dressed, and bejeweled to the nines. And she was always a funny, utter joy. 

One evening in particular is forever etched in my mind. It was at the 2018 event, where Bloch was to appear onstage alongside DAP Health CEO David Brinkman to make an astounding gift of three million dollars. Brinkman had asked me if I could escort her into the spotlight. Moments before her name was announced, I turned to her in the dark of the wings and softly asked, “Are you ready?” “I’m ready,” she replied. I took her hand, which was freezing, providing her unique twist on that old “cold hands, warm hearts” adage. “Are you nervous, Annette?” I uttered. “I am,” she whispered back. “I hate speaking in public. But I just love to give!” 

And give she did. That night, long before, and long after. To DAP Health, to other causes and organizations in which she believed, but mostly, of herself to her beloved Andrei, her treasured family, and her dearest friends. 

We’ve asked a handful of them to share their most precious recollections of Bloch, below. 

 

Andrei T. Muresan 

Exercising was an intrinsic part of Annette’s lifestyle and of who she was. So the image that most often comes to mind when I think of Annette is her going to the gym and working out regardless of the weather or her mood. This discipline speaks to the fact that when Annette would commit to something, she would stay true to her commitment no matter what. And her smiling face all throughout the exercise routines — together with her adorable, colorful workout outfits — point to the idea that Annette always found a way to derive enjoyment, to have fun in a commitment. I think “discipline” and “fun” are the two words that would faithfully describe in a succinct manner the essence of Annette’s personality. 

 

David Brinkman 

Annette lived her life committed to the power of positive thinking. No matter the circumstance, she elected to spend more time contemplating the good. When COVID hit, she was grateful to be at home with Andrei, living full-time in the desert and Zooming with her family each and every Sunday. On the hottest days of summer, she’d say, “David, I am so lucky. The bright sun is beautiful, and I’m in the shade reading books on the patio. There is no place I’d rather be than here with Andrei.” While the last years of her life were not filled with the travel and parties she once lived for, she discovered pleasure in the pandemic’s requisite isolation. And through focusing on the positive, irrespective of COVID, she found the exuberant joy and gratitude by which she defined her life.  

 

Mark Adams 

I was always struck by how down-to-earth Annette was. She never forgot her roots in Philadelphia and was always so grateful and appreciative about her good fortune. That’s why she was so generous to others. She would always say, after a gift was announced, or after making some other philanthropic gesture, “I'm just glad I could do it.” She didn't need accolades or applause. She just wanted to help where and when she could. 

 

Kevin Bass  

It was an honor to call Annette Bloch one of my dearest friends. She was kind, sweet, smart, generous, energetic, funny, and one of the most loving people I have ever met. Her positive attitude and joy for life were contagious. I always knew where to find her in a crowd; she was the one surrounded by people — who flocked to her because of her positive energy and love of life, very much like Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind.” The greatest lesson I learned from Annette: surround yourself with positive people. Life is too short for negativity. She was a force!!!! 

 

Carolyn Caldwell 

Annette was one of the kindest and most sincere individuals I’ve ever met. Even though she was a very successful individual, she had the ability to make everyone in her presence seem special. A few of my most special memories of her are when she held my face in her hands and told me that she loved me after I gave her flowers for her birthday. I stressed over what to give to someone who has everything for her birthday. I decided to purchase a very nice floral arrangement for her, and she was so overjoyed that I thought enough of her to buy her flowers. I also remember when she was hosting a dinner for my dear friends David Brinkman and Will Grimm before they were married on a weeknight. I told her that since I worked in Long Beach throughout the week, I really didn’t think I could attend. Once again, she held my face in her hands and said, “It would really mean a lot to David if you were there.” I was able to adjust my schedule in order to attend, seeing it meant so much to her and also wanting to be there for David and Will. However, the most memorable and special thing Annette ever did for my husband Daniel and me was that she and Andrei invited us to their home for dinner. She didn’t cater the meal but instead prepared everything from scratch. Since Daniel and I lived in Kansas City for eight years, we enjoyed a traditional KC BBQ dinner. It was such a lovely evening. I will never forget how she always made Daniel and me feel special. We both miss her terribly. 

 

Jerry Keller 

Annette was a kind, generous person and a wonderful friend! My wife Barbara and she were a formidable team in the charity world. Together, they provided immeasurable support for so many people in need in the Coachella Valley. Most importantly, Annette was a shining example of the joy one can spread as she fully enjoyed her amazing, long-lived life. 

 

Terri Ketover 

An amazing, generous woman, Annette was the most positive person I have ever known and the most devoted, thoughtful friend. Her beautiful smile was a true reflection of her personality and soul. I remember when I became the chair of the 100 Women program of DAP. In the more than five years since its inception, its membership had stalled in the mid-30s. I told Annette that my goal was to grow the group to at least 100, and began soliciting my friends, more than doubling the membership that year but still short of my goal. Annette decided my mission was her mission, and at that year's Steve Chase gala, when she was onstage being honored with the 100 Women Award, she took the opportunity to challenge the women present in the audience to stand and make the $1500 annual commitment to help me reach my goal. Forty women answered Annette’s call that night, raising more than $60,000 and growing the 100 Women ranks to 125! Annette will be remembered with love by all who were fortunate enough to know her and by all of the clients whose lives she impacted through her tremendous support of DAP. 

 

David Zippel 

In addition to being an inspiring philanthropist, Annette was a real-life Auntie Mame. She literally picked up my husband, Michael, and me at a cocktail party about 15 years ago. She said “You’re fun. I like fun people. Let’s spend time together.” And we did, having many adventures and travels with her and her partner Andrei. We all had dinner a few weeks before she passed away. Although she was being treated for cancer, she was having a good day and she was as vivacious, joyful, and upbeat as the day we met. Like we had done many times before, we “closed" the restaurant that night. Annette was an optimist and a fighter to the very end, and a role model of how to grab life with both hands and live it.  

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Five DAP Health clinicians recognized by …

Five DAP Health clinicians recognized by the American Academy of HIV Medicine

There are numerous names that Dan Ebeling must scroll through in his role as the Director of Credentialing and Technology for the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM), he says one organization pops up often -- DAP Health.  

AAHIVM is a Washington D.C.-based agency and the nation’s leading independent organization of health care professionals dedicated to providing excellence in HIV care and prevention.  

This year, Ebeling credentialed 1,500 professionals. While he doesn’t know DAP Health on a personal level or the individuals who apply or renew their credentials specifically, he can surmise the level of commitment DAP Health exhibits.  

“They are committed to those high standards,” Ebeling said from his office in Washington D.C. “When an organization takes that extra step and says, ‘We’re going to help and support all of the people who work for us to earn this credential, it says something strong about that organization -- the organization is making a commitment to the highest standards of care.”  

This year, five DAP Health clinicians earned or renewed their credentials – Dr. David Morris (Chief Medical Officer), Dr. Tulika Singh MD (Director of Research, Associate Chief Medical Officer), Anthony Velasco (Senior Nurse Practitioner Specialist), Felipe Saavedra MD (Primary Care Physician) and Trent Broadus (Nurse Practitioner). 

“It’s not an easy process. It requires a lot of specialized knowledge in HIV care,” Ebeling says. “Going through the process  can be very rewarding.”  

The credentials are the first and only one of its kind offered domestically and internationally to physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists specializing in advanced-level HIV care.  

In 2019, DAP Health, then known as Desert AIDS Project, distinguished itself as an organization when it won the Peter M. Fox Excellence in AAHIVM Credentialing Award, which recognizes organizations where all eligible practitioners  hold a credential. 

Being credentialed through AAHIVM helps ensure that medical professionals are up to date with new practices to provide optimal care.  

“It’s the gold standard. It’s what we want, it’s what we expect, and it’s what we do. It says that we reach for the top shelf,’ Dr. Morris says. “We expect our clinicians to be certified by the American Academy of HIV Medicine, and we proudly maintain that certification.”  

New DAP Health Sexual Wellness clinic op …

DAP Health expands Sexual Wellness in Indio, CA opening new clinic opening June 2022 and MISTR partnership expand the reach of health care services  

DAP Health made two significant moves to expand free testing and treatment to the East Valley by signing a lease to a new facility in Indio and partnering with MISTR to provide virtual PrEP services statewide.  

On Nov. 29, DAP Health signed a lease for a building in Indio to open a sexual wellness clinic.  The organization hopes to open the new space by June 2022.  

Free services will include STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) testing and treatment (gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis), HIV prevention (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP; post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP), and HIV and hepatitis C testing.  

If anyone tests positive for HIV, the sexual wellness clinic DAP Health will provide that person with rapid start medication and linkage to care, an essential step in reducing new HIV infections and improving the health outcomes of the person living with HIV. While the cost of ongoing HIV treatment is not part of the free services, DAP Health offers financial assistance.  

In 2019, 25% of all HIV-positive test results at DAP Health were Hispanic men. “Many folks were driving from the East Valley to Palm Springs to utilize DAP Health’s sexual wellness services. We noticed not only a high volume of patients but most of those patients were already having symptoms of an STI or testing positive for HIV,” says C.J. Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health. Tobe believes free testing and treatment, with the convenience of not having to drive a great distance, will encourage more people to get tested.   

DAP Health is changing the system to meet the person. Since eliminating the cost barriers in its Orange Clinic that houses its sexual wellness services in July 2021, DAP Health has seen ongoing STI increases while HIV has remained the same, according to Tobe.   

DAP Health knew access to these services would be vital while social activities increased.    

In the first four months:    

  • The Orange Clinic saw over 2,000 patients.   
  • On average, DAP Health is seeing 170 more patients per month than when patients were being charged for services.    
  • The clinic started the same number of people on PrEP during the four months than they did in the prior 12 months.    
  • There were over 50 appointments for rapid start to ensure people newly diagnosed with HIV, or returning to care, have access to HIV medications within 7 days.    

“We are proactively protecting the community’s health,” Tobe said. “Eliminating the cost barrier has proven to increase access to folks in our community for PrEP and STI services.”   

“One of those barriers is cost. DAP Health learned many people testing positive for STIs and HIV had limited incomes. For them, the prior $25 fee for STI testing and PrEP was an impediment to care. DAP Health decided to remove that cost barrier to improve health equity.”  

In addition to the new Indio site, DAP Health now offers PrEP services virtually through MISTR, a discrete online service that provides access to PrEP, the once-daily pill regimen that prevents HIV. With its secure online platform, MISTR can determine if an individual is a candidate for PrEP and makes PrEP completely free. Moreover, MISTR manages all paperwork and back and forth with insurance companies and the various patient assistance programs, creating a seamless experience for the end-user.   

With the new clinic and the partnership with MISTR, DAP Health looks to make its services available to more people.  

DAP Health continues to make sexual wellness a priority by providing more people with more access to health services. It also continues to expand its ability to treat more people.   

"We welcome all people, period. And now we are eliminating more barriers to access sexual wellness services," Tobe said. “We are changing the system to meet the person. We continue to do this; First by eliminating the cost barrier and now opening a free sexual wellness clinic to people most impacted by HIV/STIs. That is health equity.”  

For more information, visit https://mistr.com/dap/ or https://mistr.com/dap-sistr/  

Celebrating the Legacy of Ryan White on …

KT File Photo

Ryan White on His 50th Birthday 

Ryan White is not alive to celebrate his 50th birthday, which is December 6. But thousands of people living with HIV crossed the half-century mark recently. They might not realize it, but most of them have been helped in some way by Ryan. It could be from the anti-stigma movement sparked by his short life and untimely passing in 1990. Or maybe it is just the luxury of complaining about middle age. Thanks to the HIV Continuum of Care, people with HIV can go from diagnosis to achieving and maintaining viral suppression quickly, regardless of their insurance or income.  

Serving more than half a million people today, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program honors this teen’s courage and toughness in the face of life-shattering discrimination after his HIV diagnosis. Along with mom Jeanne White-Ginder and HIV activists from across the country, Ryan White achieved the unthinkable. He put a human face on HIV, and it changed the world, starting with the U.S.  

Ryan has missed a lot of milestones, in addition to his upcoming birthday. He missed his high school graduation, and he missed seeing the federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program named after him signed into law by Congress. He would marvel that people now can live long and fulfilling lives because of effective treatment and that more than half of people with HIV in the U.S. today are over fifty. 

“I’m acutely aware of how much better my life is today because of Ryan White,” says Sven, a DAP Health patient who just turned fifty and has lived with HIV since 2001. Getting care and services early in his diagnosis laid a foundation for his own thriving with HIV, he says.  

Accessing Health Through Ryan White Today 

People with HIV have more opportunities than ever to stay in control of their health, thanks to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and DAP Health. The uninsured are never turned away, and low-income or under-insured patients who qualify can access the program for high-quality, comprehensive care.  

It is easy for anyone to find out if they qualify for Ryan White programs for ongoing care and a variety of other needs with a short online form or by calling (760) 323-2118. To learn more, visit daphealth.org. 

DAP Health has been providing care and services to people living with HIV since 1984, the same year Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS. At a time before HIV was even acknowledged as an epidemic, DAP Health medical staff, psychologists and social workers created their own road map for helping patients live with HIV, and they kept improving it.  

Living with HIV requires ongoing, complex, and intensive management, but many patients do not have the financial resources required for adequate care. DAP Health offers patients and clients access with the following, thanks to Ryan White Program grants:  

  • Early Intervention Services,  
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), 
  • HIV and primary medical care, 
  • Medications, 
  • Help for youth transitioning into adult HIV care,  
  • Rapid Start Antiretroviral Therapy (ART),  
  • Outpatient medical care,  
  • Food vouchers,  
  • Career development assistance, 
  • Medical transportation,  
  • Psychosocial support groups,  
  • and temporary housing assistance. 

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the third-largest source of federal funding for HIV-related care, after Medicare and Medicaid. About half of DAP Health clients living with HIV use the program as they stay engaged in medical care and services for viral suppression and a much better quality of life.  

“Everyone wants to protect the Ryan White Program because it works so well at helping people live with HIV,” says Carl Baker, DAP Health director of Legal and Legislative Affairs. “Its efficiency has always made it a financial and administrative success.” 

More than half of people with HIV in the U.S. received services through Ryan White programs in 2019, and more of them (88.1%) reached viral suppression compared to the national average (64.7%). (HRSA) 

High rates of viral suppression mean that more people with HIV are taking their medication as prescribed and reaching and maintaining an undetectable viral load. This means they have no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.  

Living With HIV Isn’t Always Easy 

Sven says he was trying to make sense of being a young gay man in Hollywood when he found out about his HIV. In 2001, his hard-partying ways had made adulting a real challenge and he needed special support.  

“I had this instinct to survive,” he says, “and I took advantage of the help that was offered to me through Ryan White funded programs.”  

These included housing, food, HIV specialty care, medical transportation, and help dealing with addiction. Today, Sven is married to the love of his life George and living a sober and full life. Those difficult days in Hollywood have been in his rearview mirror for years now, and he is grateful for that.  

“How do you look at HIV as a disease when it’s given you so much life?” says Sven. “I’ve had access to a lot of help, all because of HIV advocates who decided to honor Ryan White’s legacy.”  

Why Is the Ryan White Program Still Important? 

Not all states have expanded access for people living with HIV. Especially in states without Medicaid expansion, people living with HIV/AIDS frequently are poor with unstable living conditions, and they are likely to be uninsured or underinsured. It is also common for them to suffer from numerous comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hepatitis C. Treatment for these is also covered. Designed to fill gaps in the existing HIV care system, the Ryan White Program provides uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS with access to HIV-related care and delivers high-quality, comprehensive care. 

Learn More About the Ryan White Program 

For more about the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and his personal story, visit https://hab.hrsa.gov/about-ryan-white-hivaids-program/about-ryan-white-hivaids-program 

The Partners for Life Season Opens with …

The Partners for Life Season Opens with a Story of Healing  

A beautiful evening, empowering messages, and a dazzling performance by Keisha D. This was the November 9 Season Opening Partners for Life event hosted at the home of Doug Chadwick, with catering provided by Lulu's California Bistro. It was the first Partners for Life gathering in almost two years continuing the theme of the organization's October 30 Desert AIDS Walk - Together Again.  

DAP Health CEO David Brinkman addressed supporters, providing an update on the advocacy-based healthcare organization and its focus on health equity.  

Explaining how DAP Health's roots in community care continue to guide future planning, Brinkman explained “We believe that everyone deserves to be healthy and that stems from our unique history." 

“Our founding 37 years ago at the beginning of the AIDS crisis was fraught with horrific human suffering, denied medical care, and outright cruelty. Hard-won lessons learned throughout our history led us to our health equity movement: Our fight to be healthy, our fight for our human rights.”  

Joining Brinkman on stage was singer and humanitarian, Keisha D who was honored with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2020. Keisha D has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community and young people in our community. She established the Keisha D scholarship, an endowment through the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) that is awarded to underserved minority students who wish to pursue education in music and performing arts. 

Keisha D shared her experience at DAP Health. When she arrived for her first appointment, she felt hopeless because of her medical challenges.   

“I was lying in bed, I was 105 pounds, and I could barely lift my head,” Keisha D told attendees. “They rolled me in a wheelchair to see Dr. (David) Morris and I told him that all I want you to do is set me up for hospice. I am sick of this. I want to die. I don’t want to do this anymore."  

“Dr. Morris (DAP Health’s Chief Medical Officer) told me, ‘That is not what we are in the business to do. We’re in the business to heal you."  

"That’s what they have done". Keisha D pointed out as she confidently stood on the stage.   

But Keisha D can do much more than that today.  She performs every Monday night at The Purple Room in Palm Springs, as well as several other venues and events around the Coachella Valley.  Her voice was strong and empowering as she performed “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” from the hit musical Dreamgirls.  

She expressed what DAP Health means to her and the community. 

Illustrating the importance of access to comprehensive health care. Keisha D pointed out her illness was not HIV-related. The care she received at DAP Health was something she was not receiving from her previous care teams.  

“I’m telling you, from my heart, thank you for letting it be possible that this facility is open for anybody. I have a lot of other doctors who could not help me. And so, what you are doing, it's amazing.”  

In his update, Brinkman shared that DAP Health is working hard to expand its services. Free STI testing and treatment has been extended, partially due to the growing demands during the pandemic. 

During the pandemic, DAP Health opened the Marc Byrd Behavioral Health Clinic to address a growing need in mental health. A move that will double the organization's capacity to meet a growing and urgent need for care.  

Sharing that DAP Health will soon break ground on a new affordable housing project, Brinkman said “Together we can build a more just, equal, and healthy community right here in the desert."  

"Because of you, the DAP Health community is a leader in the work of health equity. Our founding, our advances in our health equity movement, drive us to find solutions for hunger, housing, addiction and to expand health access for our diverse community.”     

About DAP Health's Partners for Life

For over 30 years, members of the Partners for Life (PFL) program have provided generous financial support to help DAP Health with their ongoing battle to end epidemics like HIV and COVID; to provide equitable patient-centered health care to anyone who needs it; and to focus on the entire person's health through behavioral health and addiction services, dentistry, career counseling and placement, housing, social services, youth outreach and education, and more.  

As an advocacy-based health care organization, DAP Health offers access to care to over 10,000 clients annually, plus over 80 new individuals who visit our campus for the very first time every month.  

Learn more about becoming a member of Partners for Life 

Desert retirement with Revivals Stores

Desert retirement with Revivals Stores 

Meet Larry Boyle and Terry DeBhur.

Boyle and DeBuhr moved go the Coachella Valley from Chicago two years ago. They arrived July 5, 2019, with two dogs and hope for an active and enjoyable retirement. As volunteers at Revivals, they have found that.

DeBhur grew up in Derry, Northern Ireland, during the Troubles, but always knew there was a larger world to explore. Boyle grew up in a small rural town in Iowa, and he left at the first opportunity for graduate school in Claremont in 1971. Terry and Larry met in London nearly 25 years ago and were married in 2014. After retiring from their academic life at Loyola University Chicago, they packed up and left for the desert. 

While still living in Chicago, the men frequently visited the Coachella Valley and enjoyed shopping at Revivals. After a year of settling in to desert life — which was interrupted by a pandemic — they began to volunteer as cashiers at the Cathedral City Revivals store. They enjoy working with Revivals staff and volunteers, talking to customers, and doing some shopping themselves.   

In addition to the volunteer work at Revivals, Boyle and DeBhur enjoy leading hikes on desert mountain trails. DeBhur is an avid creative writer and enjoys putting his reflections into poetry. Boyle enjoys wildflower hunting and photography. 

 

An update on the COVID-19 vaccine and re …

An update on the COVID-19 vaccine and recommendations for a third dose

DAP Health Insights – Monday, September 6, 2021, from David Brinkman, CEO 

COVID-19 vaccine: A message from Dr. David Morris, DAP Health Chief Medical Officer

The majority of our patients living with HIV are healthy and thriving, but unfortunately some are moderately to severely immunocompromised. The CDC recommends  some immunocompromised individuals consider a third COVID-19 dose. HIV positive patients  whose CD4 cell count is <200/mm3 or CD4 percentage is 14 or less who want information about the COVID-19 vaccine should log into MyChart and send a message to their clinician, who can confidentially discuss their medical history and make a personalized recommendation. Click here for more information.

Revivals volunteer Steven Shuman finds purpose and unity through giving back

Steven Shuman grew up in Miami and attended the University of Florida. After college, he moved to Fort Lauderdale, where he worked for the Internal Revenue Service for 33 years before retiring in 2008. For the next six years, he worked in real estate.

In 2015, Shuman and his husband, Brad Kane, moved to Palm Springs. Once settled in the desert, Shuman wanted to find a way to occupy his time while also giving back to his community. A friend referred him to Revivals, the local nonprofit thrift store that donates 100% of its net profits to DAP Health.

Shuman can be found at the store three mornings a week. "I enjoy what I do there," he says. "One of my favorite stories here is when I was going through a bag and found a $100 bill, which also went to Revivals." Read more about Shuman from The Desert Sun.

Conversations about HIV and Aging Brett

Conversations about HIV and Aging: Brett

Q: How has living with HIV changed your perspective on aging?      

A: When I tested positive in 1993, I figured I had months to live. Now, 28 years later, I feel that whatever time remains is a gift, and so I try to live each day as positive as possible. 

Q: What does community mean to you? Where do you find your 'tribe' to support your journey?         

A: Community and a sense of ‘tribe’ means a lot to me. I’ve been blessed with having a tribe of my partner and close friends that support and nurture me when I need it most. I’ve also been highly involved with being an HIV and LGBTQ volunteer for many organizations that bring me joy. 

Q: What's the best advice you've been given? 

A: Don’t sweat the small stuff. My dad told me that since childhood, and while it’s not always easy to stick to it, I do try. 

Q: What have you learned about yourself living with HIV that your younger self would be surprised by?         

A: That I’m resilient and can take care of myself when needed most. I wasn’t always a leader, but now I’ve embraced my tenacity and voice when it comes to HIV and aging and living with HIV. 

Q: What song do you play when you need to motivate yourself?         

A: There are a few, but “Rise,” by Katy Perry comes to mind. It puts me in a soulful, reflective mindset, especially this version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U85U3dPuiR4. 

Q: How did the U=U message shift your outlook on dating and connection? 

A: I love the campaign and only wish it was present much earlier in the pandemic cycle. After so many years of living in a mindset of self-doubt, rejection, and feeling ‘other than,’ it’s hard to release my mind to this message with some interactions, with those still so uninformed about HIV and transmission. 

Q: What challenges have you faced aging with HIV?  

A: Many challenges over the years, from an AIDS diagnosis and 20 T cells, to now thriving due to medications. Although, my medication regimen is the last of the line for what will work given that I’m resistant to all of the current one-pill and other treatments. 

Q: What service or support group has made the biggest positive impact on your health and wellness?          

A: Being part of both the AIDS/LifeCycle and Dining Out For Life have been supportive at many levels, and they’ve enabled me to find my “voice” when it comes to public speaking, showing my weaknesses, strengths, and plotting the path forward. 

Q: What do you do to take care of your mental health?       

A: Not well enough some days, but I continue to try my best through positive external activities, community gatherings, and riding my bike as much as I can. 

Q: What do you want people reading this to know about aging with HIV?   

A: That it doesn’t have to define you, and it doesn’t have to be a death sentence, either. Aging is a process that you can embrace. 

Q: What's your goal for the future? What do you hope to be doing in the next 5-10 years personally or career-wise? 

A: Now that’s the $10,000 question. At 60 now, I’m looking at ten years remaining for work potentially, and so what will that be and where? My dream would be to close out my work life with a nonprofit that provides grants to LGBTQ organizations that are struggling. 

Q: What's your pro-tip for someone newly diagnosed with HIV?

A: Get into care immediately, including a support group or activity with others who are HIV positive. Let their guiding light and love flow into you. 

Q: What book or movie inspired you most?

A: “The Front Runner.” It speaks to my childhood, my goals, my struggles, and continues to bring me happiness, sadness, grief, and hope, even after reading it for the fourth time. 

Q: What's your personal mantra?   

A: Om mani padme hum. It means that in dependence on the practice of a path, which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. 

 

Conversations about HIV and Aging Nichol …

Conversations about HIV and Aging: Nicholas

Q: How has living with HIV changed your perspective on aging?

A: It may sound strange, but I believe I am much healthier at this age than I would have been had I not become HIV positive in 2007. Why? As a person living with HIV, I have been much more engaged with healthcare and self-care than I otherwise would have been. 

Q: What does community mean to you? Where do you find our tribe to support your journey?

A: This would surprise most who know me, but I have a propensity to choose isolation and loneliness, and I am working hard to overcome this and to actually find a tribe. I know and love many people who know and love me, but I hunger for more intimate, sustained, and authentic human connections. 

Q: What is the best advice you've been given?

A; I wasn't told, but I was taught by my loved ones who were dying of AIDS in the early 1980's that life is fleeting, and that my responsibility is to fiercely yield my life force and express my voice, my truth, and make every moment count. 

Q: What have you learned about yourself living with HIV that your younger self would be surprised by?

A: That I am inspired to create and live a life beyond my wildest dreams. 

Q: What song(s) do you play when you need to motivate yourself?

A: “It's My Time,” recorded by Martha Wash; “One Moment in Time,” recorded by Whitney Houston; and “It's in Everyone of Us,” by David Pomeranz. 

Q: How did the U=U message shift your outlook on dating and connection?

A: It gives me hope, a lot of hope, but in my experience, there is still a tremendous amount of stigma about HIV in the gay male community. It is painful to be rejected by a potential intimate when I disclose that I am HIV undetectable. More and more people will learn and grow and evolve. I welcome this. 

Q: What challenges have you faced aging with HIV?

A: Overcoming isolation and loneliness remain my biggest challenges and mission. I am making progress. 

Q: What service or support group has made the biggest positive impact on your health and wellness? 

A: Affordable housing, hands down. Coincidentally, the day I am answering these questions is my precise ten-year anniversary as a client of DAP Health. I was on the waiting list for housing for five months and then, for the last decade, including now, I have lived in the Vista Sunrise Apartments, a stone's throw from my medical team. Yes, I wouldn't be here without all the other amazing services I receive, from great primary care to mental health counseling (which I personally need and very strongly advocate for others) and so much more. But it all starts with having a place to call home. 

Q: What do you want people reading this to know about aging with HIV?

A: We are all human, and no one gets out of this life alive. If living with HIV isn't one of your challenges, you'll have others if you don't already. We can all take steps to get the support we need to live our best lives regardless of our personal circumstances. Go for it. You be you, the best YOU possible. 

Q: What's your goal for the future? What do you hope to be doing in the next 5-10 years personally or career-wise?

A: I am keeping my cards close to my chest on this one, but suffice it to say, my professional pursuits are very much about making the world a better place. On a personal note, I hope my life's great love affair is still ahead of me. I am keeping hope alive! 

Q: What's your pro-tip for someone newly diagnosed with HIV?

A: I am sure most people with HIV wish they were never exposed and it wasn't an issue they needed to deal with. But since this is your new reality, celebrate the fact that this is the best time in history to have such a diagnosis. We can live long and healthy lives, have loving and intimate connections with others, and pursue our greatest and wildest dreams, all while living and sharing our truth. The world is a better place because of you! 

Q: What movie or book inspired you the most?

A: “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book” 

Q: What's your personal mantra?

A: To honor and express my creativity in a way that makes a difference.