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Answered! Your Most Commonly Asked Quest …

Answered! Your Most Commonly Asked Questions About PrEP for HIV Prevention 

DAP Talks Season 1, Episode 2 


Andy Ansell: 

Hi there. My name is Andy Ansell, and I am the PrEP Program Manager here at Desert AIDS Project. I've been asked to talk to you today regarding PrEP and to answer some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to PrEP. First let me just talk about what PrEP is.  

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and is the name of an HIV prevention intervention. We're trying to prevent somebody from acquiring HIV, pre-exposure. So before they've even been exposed to HIV, we want them to be protected against it. We do that by prescribing an individual medication, and they take one pill once a day to prevent HIV infection. A commonly asked question is, how does it work? The medications that we've prescribed for PrEP are called antiretroviral medication. They prevent HIV from replicating. So, they interrupt HIV in its replication process and thereforeHIV can't replicate. It can't cause an HIV infection.  

So that's basically how PrEP works. Another commonly asked question is, how well does it work? In other words, how well does it protect against HIV? Here at DAP, we have endorsed a 99.9% effective rating for PrEP as it pertains to preventing HIV infection. Prior to PrEP, the only tool that we had to give people to prevent HIV infection were condoms. Condoms are still a great tool for preventing HIV infection. However, if you compare those two interventions side by side, overall for effectiveness, condoms, when used consistently come in at about 90% effective and PrEP use consistently comes in at 99.9% effective. Another commonly asked question pertaining to PrEP is, how much does it cost? Well, that's a very difficult question to answer just outright for everyone.  
PrEP Navigators help people understand how much PrEP will cost. Our goal for anybody who comes to DAP for PrEP navigation services is to get them PrEP for no cost or as little cost as possible. And it really depends on a few things. It depends on what type of healthcare coverage an individual has, and it depends on the income level and type that an individual has. There are number of supportive programs out there that will help pay the cost of PrEP and for the medical care needed for somebody on PrEPHere at DAP, 98% of the time, we're able to dispense PrEP, at least the medication, at no cost and perhaps just a slight cost for the actual medical care needed.  
Another commonly question is, how do I get it? You start out getting an appointment with a medical provider, either through your primary care provider or your PCP, or here at DAP through our sexual health clinic. We provide all the medical care necessary here onsite 

An initial PrEP appointment at DAP without any type of assistance is a $125. And what is covered in that is the doctor's visit, meeting with the clinician, all the required lab tests that are necessary in order to get PrEP, and the prescription itselfall of that is included in the $125. For anybody who goes on PrEP at DAPour medical protocol is that you have a medical appointment once every three months with routine lab tests.  
A routine follow-up appointment every three months is $25, unless you qualify for certain assistance programs 

For many patients at DAP, we can help them sign up for programs that help them access PrEP for free. If you want to get more information, or if you want to schedule an appointment to speak with a PrEP Navigator who can go over all of this information for you, visit our website at daphealth.org. You can click to make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable PrEP Navigators here on site. We're always here and happy to answer any questions that you might have. So please reach out to us. We're happy to help. Thanks. Take care and stay safe. 

DAP Sexual Health Clinic

1695 N. Sunrise Way Palm Springs, CA 92262

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Hours: Monday - Friday 8am - 4:30pm ( Closed for lunch from 12 - 1pm )

Phone: 760-992-0492

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

PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

PrEP 2-1-1 During COVID

Weekend Wrap Message – Saturday, September 26, From David Brinkman, Desert AIDS Project CEO 

New HIV infections are continuing in our Valley, and years of our work to reverse this trend are in danger unless we offer the public every prevention method we can.

Most of our clients who are using PrEP to prevent HIV are on the daily dose, and this remains the most effective regiment. For a few, daily dosing is not an option, and we believe in making this lifesaving therapy available to them.

Clinical data indicates that while daily PrEP has shown to be 99% effective in preventing HIV, PrEP 2-1-1 has been shown to be up to 86% effective. 

With medication delivery, telephone consults, and sanitized stations for periodic STI testing, clients are preventing HIV while being safely served. You can learn more here.

Seniors Need Protection--Less Isolation

Specialists say social isolation can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but many people over age 65 in our community are trapped with long-term social seclusion, worsened by this pandemic. We’ve created a medical home for them, with specialized doctors and therapists they can access from home, and a social services team to link them to programs and coverage.  

Seniors make up almost 30 percent of this Valley’s population, about double the national average. Because many already identified as physically vulnerable pre pandemic, seniors are experiencing added isolation from adhering to current social distance rules. 

As the length of this pandemic takes a toll on even the most resilient seniors, advocates like Dr. Jill Gover, our behavioral health manager contributed to a story in The Desert Sun:

"(Older people) are not willing to take the risk and so they are much more isolated — it was a major problem to begin with and COVID has only exacerbated it." (read more here)

Untreated HIV Still A Threat

We hope these numbers do not increase as the economy suffers, but people are still developing and dying from AIDS in 2020, right here in the Coachella Valley. Staying in treatment for HIV is not easy for many, but our medical team has the expertise and heart to help anyone re-enter care without judging them.

Our early intervention program had 160 referrals for attempts to find patients who had stopped filling their ART prescriptions, ceasing their HIV treatment without explanation. (Based on calendar year 2019) You can read more here about our work to make sure anyone needing HIV treatment can get it quickly.

New, more convenient hours at The DOCK!

Staying in control of your sexual health just got a whole lot easier!

The DOCK, a sexual health clinic staffed by and situated at Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs, has announced a new, more convenient schedule beginning Tuesday, September 6th, the day after Labor Day.

Our new, more convenient schedule hours will make it easier for people to access the care they need – when they need it.

The new hours will be Monday-Friday from 10:00AM to 6:30PM for all services. The new schedule will make it easier for people to access services after work, or even during their lunch break. As an added convenience, patients can walk in, with no appointment necessary.

The DOCK New Hours

“When our patients ask, we listen,” said David Morris, MD, Medical Director of The DOCK. “For sexual health treatment and prevention services, accessibility and convenience aren’t trivial – they’re key to better health outcomes.”

The DOCK provides STD testing and treatment, free and confidential HIV and Hepatitis C testing, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent the acquisition of HIV.

As the clinic has become better known and more popular, an increasing number of patients and community members have asked the clinic to stay open all day (with no lunch break) and to extend hours into the early evening.

The DOCK is located at 1695 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs. Its unique, trademark entryway is via the loading dock ramp on the south side of the Desert AIDS Project building.

For more information, please visit www.thedockclinic.org.