DAP Health, an advocacy-based health care organization serving 10,000 patients via primary care, mental health, dental and HIV specialty care, is opening a new clinic in Indio in 2022 and will be providing virtual wellness services statewide.
The nonprofit signed a lease for a buildinglocated at 81-719 Doctor Carreon Blvd. in Indio on Nov. 29, near JFK Memorial Hospital. The opening is anticipated for June 2022.
Free services at the new space will include sexually transmitted infections testing and treatment (for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis), HIV prevention (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP) and HIV and hepatitis C testing. The current space in Palm Springs, located at 1695 N. Sunrise Way, also offers these services.
“Many folks were driving from the east valley to Palm Springs to utilize DAP Health’s sexual wellness services,” said C.J. Tobe, DAP Health’s director of community health and sexual wellness, in a statement. “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.”
In 2019, 25% of all HIV-positive test results at DAP Health were Hispanic men, according to the nonprofit.
DAP Health has also partnered with MISTR, an online service that provides access to PrEP, medication people at risk for HIV can take to prevent infection. Individuals fill out confidential paperwork online and complete an at-home test, and then licensed physicians determine if they are eligible for PrEP, according to its website. The medication is shipped in discreet packaging and refilled automatically each month for free.
Read more: DAP Health sees large uptick in HIV, STI testing since removing cost barriers in July
Related: Reflections on 40 years of HIV/AIDS
Since DAP Health eliminated costs for HIV and STI testing at its Orange Clinic earlier this year, it has noticed an uptick in patients. More than 2,000 patients have come in to the Orange Clinic between July and November, and DAP Health is seeing 170 more patients per month than when patients were being charged for services, according to the health center. By late November, 14 HIV-positive patients were discovered during the free services period, and 176 patients were put on PrEP.
“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.”
Ema Sasic covers health in the Coachella Valley. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter @ema_sasic.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort