Are you or someone you know (or someone you’re about to know) one of over 150,000 people living with HIV in the United States who do not know it? recently reported “Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. About 13 percent of them don’t know it and need testing. HIV continues to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.”

HIV testing is more readily available than ever before, and current treatments are effective in allowing people with HIV to live long, productive lives. But those who do not know their HIV status are at risk of developing AIDS, and also transmit the virus to others.

It is scientifically proven that when a person with HIV takes their medications as prescribed and achieves undetectable status that they cannot transmit HIV to negative sex partners (Undetectable = Untransmittable / U=U).

In this episode of Life Positive, DAP Health’s Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness tells us all about HIV services at the agency, including Rapid Start: The process that a person with HIV rapidly starts Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). (HIV medications).

In 2020, DAP Health which serves the greater Coachella Valley, was 1 of 14 recipients across the nation as a Special Project of National Significance (SPNS) funded by HRSA to implement a rapid start program.

This initiative breaks down HIV patient types into 3 patient types:

1. Newly diagnosed for HIV = Any person with a new, positive HIV rapid test, confirmatory, or detectable viral load test result within 12 months

2. New to Care = Any person diagnosed with HIV greater than 12 months who has not attended an HIV care medical visit and has not started ART.

3. Out of Care = Any person diagnosed with HIV with previous engagement in primary HIV care who has no medical visit or laboratory test result for greater than 12 months and has agreed to return to care

Knowing your status is important. DAP offers free HIV testing in-person as well as with their free self-HIV test that can be discreetly mailed to you or picked up at DAP Health (in Palm Springs and Indio).

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