Four civic leaders agree to make a splash for LGBTQ Health Equity in the dunk tank

PALM SPRINGS – More than 100,000 community members — from babies in strollers to seniors — are expected to participate in DAP Health’s annual Desert AIDS Walk, which will include a dunk tank.

The Desert AIDS Walk kicks off at Ruth Hardy Park on Saturday, Oct. 29, tracing a route through downtown Palm Springs. The theme of this year’s event, whose presenting sponsor is Desert Care Network, is “Walk, Out Loud,” which places its focus squarely on advocacy and on uniting the entire community in the fight for LGBTQ+ health equity.

The Desert AIDS Walk registration will begin Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. departure. The Health & Wellness Village sponsored by Walgreens will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entertainers on the main stage will include The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus.

Newly added this year:  Civic Leaders are making a splash for LGBTQ+ Health Equity.

Just $50 buys three chances to help a civic leader make a splash for LGBTQ Health Equity in the dunk tank. Participating civic leaders include:

  • David Brinkman – CEO DAP Health
  • Scott Nevins – DAP Health Board member, LGBT Rights Activist and candidate for City Council
  • Andrew G. Mills – Chief of Police, Palm Springs Police Department
  • Captain Nathan Gunkel – Fire Captain, Palm Springs Fire Department

Attendees of the walk are welcome to sign the country’s largest Health Equity Post Card before it is mailed to the White House.  The card, along with the Desert AIDS Walk Memorial Wall will be displayed at Ruth Hardy Park during Desert AIDS Walk and available for everyone to sign.

Desert AIDS Walk Pro Tip: Come Early for Yoga

  • 7:30 AM – Urban Yoga and Snack a Go Go with coffee and fruit/breakfast bars from Koffi.
  • 8:00 AM – Walgreens Health and Wellness Village is open (over 50 booths to visit)
  • 9:00 AM – Walk Kick-Off
  • 10:30 AM – Make a Splash for Health Equity at the Desert AIDS Walk Dunk Tank. Visit the Palm Springs Animal Shelter Booth and meet dogs that are hoping to be adopted.

PLUS: The Youth Activities tent with circle painting, Jenga, Cornhole, and other activities, 360 Camera Video

The money raised thanks to the perennially popular pet- and the family-friendly affair will go directly to fund DAP Health’s advocacy and health care efforts, with 2022 proceeds also benefitting a handful of community partners, including The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Brothers of the Desert, The L Fund and Queer Works.

An Enviable Track Record

Ever since its inception in 1984, DAP Health has centered its work on advocating on behalf of populations whose voices are often unheard — people with HIV/AIDS, people of color, those living in poverty, unhoused individuals, and people with disabilities, and people struggling with substance use. Through it all, the organization has never wavered in its determination to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and today continues to:

  • Offer free onsite and mobile HIV and STI testing, including mailing at-home HIV tests to those unable to access its main Palm Springs campus.
  • Link people newly diagnosed with HIV to care — and help them remain in care — so that they can be undetectable, therefore unable to transfer the virus to others (U=U).
  • Provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

As always, DAP Health’s day-to-day approach to health care is a holistic one. Its umbrella of culturally competent services encompasses:

  • HIV/AIDS outreach, testing, and care
  • STI outreach, testing, and care
  • Primary care
  • Mental health care
  • Dental care
  • Addiction treatment
  • Medical case management
  • Client wellness services
  • Housing assistance
  • Medical transport
  • Food/grocery vouchers
  • Social services
  • Mobile and telehealth services
  • Health insurance and Medi-Cal assistance

The recent opening of a DAP Health clinic in Indio is proof of the non-profit’s ongoing desire to expand its reach into the East Valley. As always, no patient is ever turned away due to an inability to pay.

Community Impact

The positive effect of DAP Health’s continuous endeavors to improve the overall health of everyone living in the Coachella Valley has indisputably been considerable, and its recent Vision Forward: Building for a Healthier Tomorrow campaign has served as a roadmap toward ensuring health equity for every one of our desert neighbors.

In 2021 alone:

  • 8,298 patients were seen at DAP Health.
  • 8,182 HIV tests were conducted, with 53 individuals being linked to HIV care following their positive diagnosis and 58 patients consulting for PEP.
  • 4,698 patients accessed the organization’s mental health services.
  • 4,100 patients accessed its dental health services.
  • 2,431 substance use visits were completed.
  • 2,924 Hep C tests were completed.
  • 901 Hep B tests were completed.
  • 1,558 STI appointments were scheduled, with 947 patients being treated for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
  • 1,029 patients received PrEP, including 359 new PrEP starts.
  • 1,188 individuals attended its community health presentations.

You can download a PDF of DAP Health’s 2021 community impact report.



Image Sources

  • Dunk Tank: Shutterstock