Get Tested Coachella Valley Holds Elected Official Breakfast Summit for National HIV Testing Day (June 27th)

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Nicholas Snow and the "Get Tested Coachella Valley" Mobile Testing Van
Nicholas Snow and the “Get Tested Coachella Valley” Mobile Testing Van

In honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the Get Tested Coachella Valley public health initiative invited elected leaders, hospital senior executives, and healthcare leaders to participate in an Elected Leaders Breakfast Summit.

The event was hosted by and held at Desert AIDS Project, the agency leading the 100-member collation of Community Partners that is the driving force behind the 3-year Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign.

In the program:

  • a progress update on the 3-year Get Tested campaign – now at the 2 ½ year mark;
  • an introduction to the newly-created Department of Community Health at Desert AIDS Project which will bridge and sustain the work of the campaign into the future; and,
  • information on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – a medical breakthrough that enables people who are HIV negative to avoid acquiring the virus by taking one pill per day.

“Thanks to our 100 Community Partners – including all nine cities in our valley, Get Tested Coachella Valley has achieved breakthrough results,” said David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project.   “We’ve also drawn attention statewide and nationally—from the CDC to the White House. National HIV Testing Day is an ideal time for us to come together to solidify our teamwork,” he asserted.

Included in the breakfast, brainstorming at the Summit to help strengthen the final 6-month plan for the Get Tested Coachella Valley initiative.

Speakers included:

  • David Brinkman, CEO, Desert AIDS Project
  • Cameron Kaiser, MD, County Medical Officer, Riverside Department of Public Health
  • Carolyn Caldwell, CEO, Desert Regional Medical Center
  • Representative Raul Ruiz, MD (in-person or via video message)

Since the beginning of the Get Tested campaign, the number of free public test sites has increased over 244% compared to pre-campaign. Of the individuals screened by Get Tested Coachella Valley test counselors who tested positive, more than 90% have been linked to specialized HIV care. More than 150 medical offices and providers have made HIV testing a routine standard of care.

About Get Tested Coachella Valley

Get Tested Coachella Valley is a three-year, $5 million public health initiative dedicated to dramatically reducing HIV infections by making voluntary HIV testing a standard and routine medical practice and ensuring linkage to care. The campaign was launched in 2014 under the leadership of Desert AIDS Project and is driven by a coalition of more than 100 Community Partners including the Riverside County Department of Public Health; the region’s major hospitals; elected officials; and leaders of community- and faith-based organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and foundations. Additional information and resources are offered in both English and Spanish at www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org and www.haztelapruebavalledecoachella.org.

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