Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) received a $25,000 grant from the Auen Foundation to provide dental care to low-income seniors living with HIV/AIDS. The Auen Foundation grant was awarded to D.A.P.’s Dental Clinic. Founded in 2008, the clinic has had an ongoing waiting list, and serves patients living at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
“Most patients come to us after years and years without dental care and require intensive treatment plans requiring many visits to achieve stable oral health,” said David Brinkman, CEO of D.A.P. “Although we recently added staff to better accommodate our long waiting list, we were still in need of supplies. The grant from the Auen Foundation will support this, and help us complete complex dental plans for our local residents in need in a timely manner.”
Last fall, D.A.P.’s Dental Clinic added a second full-time dentist. With 1.2 FTE hygienists and support staff, the clinic has already served 736 individuals this year putting the clinic on track to provide dental care to a record number of patients in 2016.
“D.A.P. is providing a critical service that is not easily found,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the Auen Foundation, which is dedicated to enhancing the overall quality of life of the aging population. “Many survivors of HIV are now in their senior years, on a limited income, and many do not have dental insurance. D.A.P.’s Dental Clinic will help these survivors maintain good oral health, which is necessary for their long-term health.”
About 60 percent of the clients seen at D.A.P.’s Dental Clinic are at least 50-years-old, and most of them are long-time survivors who have battled HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years. The extended life expectancy for HIV/AIDS has brought about a challenge for those aging with the condition. Older people and those diagnosed in late stages need a much higher degree of care.
D.A.P. serves our community with primary and HIV-specialty services, including medical care, case management, and social services, including food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also provides HIV prevention education and free and confidential HIV testing at dozens of community test sites and events through its Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign. The nonprofit also offers The DOCK, a sexual health clinic, whose services include STD testing and treatment; PEP & PrEP education and referral to treatment; free and confidential HIV testing; and well woman exams. With new advances in treatment, improved access to care through health reform and new prevention technology, D.A.P. is committed to bringing the HIV epidemic to an end. For more information about any of D.A.P.’s services, call 760–323-2118, visit www.desertaidsproject.org.
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