After going virtual last year, the DAP Health Desert AIDS Walk will be back in person Saturday, October 30 at Ruth Hardy Park and following a route through downtown Palm Springs.
The event includes a Health and Wellness Festival presented by Walgreens.
The event is happening as the Coachella Valley experiences a rise in Sexually Transmitted Infections.
DAP Health is on the forefront of this alarming trend.
CJ Tobe, Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health, said "we’ve continued to see an increase in STIs through the COVID pandemic, but even more specifically in the last 6 months we’ve seen a significant increase in syphilis and gonorrhea.”
Riverside County Health said the trend has been continually worsening since 2019.
Lea Morgan, the HIV/STD Branch Chief at Riverside University Health System Public Health, said "generally it’s usually our population that’s 35 and under, where we’re seeing the biggest rates.”
The Coachella Valley is no exception to this increase.
“Last month specifically, we’ve seen the highest syphilis infection rate that we’ve seen in the last 3 years,” according to CJ Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health.
DAP Health has been working to combat the trend by offering free services to all at its Orange Clinic.
Tobe said sexual wellness patients can access "HIV, STI testing and treatment, and Prep and Pep services.”
These services are made possible, in large part, through fundraising, and "events like the Desert AIDS Walk fund’s go directly to these free services,” said Tobe.
The walk begins at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. Registration opens at 7:00 p.m.
If you want to register to take part in the Desert AIDS Walk visit the organization's website.
If you don't want to walk, DAP Health encourages supporters to donate to their cause directly through its website.
Tune into News Channel 3 at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. for any new developments.