New HIV/AIDS prevalence estimate has implications for Coachella Valley healthcare infrastructure
Riverside County health officials released new data indicating that a staggering 51 percent more people are living with HIV/AIDS in the county than had been previously reported. The increase is due to a change in the way state health officials collect data on those living with HIV/AIDS, and does not mean there has been a spike in the frequency of the illness, the five-page report states.
The largest increase is within the eastern portion of the county, which includes Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. Previously, there were 3,252 cases reported for 2016 (the latest figure available) compared to 5,522 in the new calculations for the same period.
“Those of us working to address the health needs of people with HIV/AIDS have speculated that the demand for services was greater than the statistics illustrated,” said David Brinkman, Chief Executive Officer of Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs. “We now have even more accurate data to better target our prevention and care efforts and evaluate what resources will be needed in the future.”
According to the Riverside county press release, public health officials previously could only track the number of people with HIV where they were diagnosed. The new data analysis includes the movement of people with HIV in and out of Riverside County.
Desert AIDS Project has committed to 90-90-90, a strategy set forth by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020.
A key piece of the 90-90-90 strategy is ensuring that people with HIV have access to care and they remain in care and stay healthy, so that the virus is suppressed to levels so low that the virus cannot be passed on to others.
About Desert AIDS Project
Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering D.A.P. Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. D.A.P.’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and free HIV and HCV testing. D.A.P.’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. D.A.P. is rated a “Top 20 HIV Charity” by About.com. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.