Contact: Steven Henke, Director of Brand Marketing
Phone: (612) 310-3047
DAP Health removes barriers and improves health equity by offering free PrEP, PEP, HIV and Hep C testing as well as STI testing and treatment
For the first time, all services provided by the DAP Health sexual wellness clinic will be offered to everyone for free. This change begins July 6, 2021.
DAP Health anticipates a surge in sexual activity as the COVID-19 pandemic slowly fades away, resulting in a potential rise in STIs and HIV infections.
“In fact, the health clinic saw an increase in STIs and HIV throughout the pandemic,” said C.J. Tobe, director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness Services for DAP Health. “We are proactively protecting the community’s health if these trends should continue.”
"To best respond to a potential public health crisis such as a surge in STIs or HIV, we are offer- ing all sexual wellness services for free for at least the next six months,” said Dustin Gruber, senior marketing manager at DAP Health.
Free services will include STI testing — gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis — and treatment; 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 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 is offering financial assistance.
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.
DAP Health's sexual wellness clinic will have its own space, named the Orange Clinic. The name continues the health center's tradition of naming its clinics after Chakra colors.
The Orange Clinic opens July 6, 2021.
"The Orange Clinic will prioritize the need for sexual wellness services," said Tobe. "We are setting up an entire clinic including staffing to meet the demand."
The sexual wellness clinic will offer patients a judgment-free space where they can get routine sexual health testing and treatment, said Gruber.
"We welcome all people, period. And now we are eliminating more barriers to access sexual wellness services that have been ongoing for decades," Tobe said while explaining why DAP Health has decided to offer free sexual wellness services.
One of those barriers is cost. DAP Health learned many of the people testing positive for STIs and HIV tended to be those with limited incomes, Tobe says. 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.
"Ending the syndemic in the region is about improving access to these services and not leong cost be a barrier to prevent people from coming in our doors," says Tobe.
How often should a person seek out sexual health services? That depends on their sexual activity, says Trent Broadus, a nurse practitioner at DAP Health.
If a person is monogamous but may have sex infrequently with another partner, for example, then that person may want to get tested twice a year, Broadus says. Conversely, those who have frequent sexual encounters with multiple partners should get tested frequently.
"Whether they get tested once a month, once every three months or only annually, I encourage them to think of it based on their sexual activity and where they find themselves on the scale," advises Broadus.
He also says a person with symptoms related to a sexual encounter should "definitely come in."
DAP Health provides sexual wellness services in the Orange Clinic, located at 1695 N. Sunrise Way in Palm Springs. Operating hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are strongly encouraged. Call (760) 323-2118 to schedule an appointment.