25 May Meet Our New Director of Community Health

Wondering how PrEP works or what PEP is? All you have to do is #AskBruce!

Interested in learning more about the new Department of Community Health at Desert AIDS Project? Just #AskBruce!

He’ll be taking all your questions, LIVE on Facebook!

About Bruce Weiss, MSW

At 13-years old, Bruce was introduced to a new disease that was killing gay men in San Francisco through a magazine article.

Reading that and connecting the “I’m gay and that’s me”. My first recollection about being gay was that HIV was going to get me. How was I going to live life and be gay?

It wasn’t long after that Bruce dedicated himself to fighting HIV, social injustice, and inequality.

HIV became as closely connected to people of color and gay men in unfair ways. It made me want to fight HIV and be part of changing the reality.

After receiving his graduate degree in social work, Bruce began his career by providing outreach and care to children whose parents had died from HIV.

In his role as Director of Community Health, Bruce’s first priority is focusing on outreach and education in the Coachella Valley community. Along with the leadership team of Desert AIDS Project, he will work to continue building on the successes of Get Tested Coachella Valley, build capacity at The DOCK, increase HIV and STD education at schools, social service organizations, and health fairs. In addition, he plans to increase and outreach to doctors and clinics.

The amount of people who received an HIV test has increased. Talking comfortably to patients about HIV and STD’s helps reduce the risk of people who could potentially spread to other people. Bringing education around the region- where they should go to get an HIV test or when they should see their medical provider- it’s the logical next step.

Part of the solution to ending the spread of HIV is educating the community and healthcare providers about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).

If you don’t even know that PrEP and PEP exists, you may not even know to ask your doctor.

What is PrEP?

PrEPPre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada® (pronounced tru vá duh), is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently. (Source: CDC PrEP | HIV Basics)

What is PEP?

PEPPEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) means taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.

PEP should be used only in emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV. If you think you’ve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles and works to prepare drugs or if you’ve been sexually assaulted, talk to your health care provider or an emergency room doctor about PEP right away. (Source: CDC PEP | HIV Basics)

With the creation of the department of community health, we’re excited to welcome Bruce to the Get Tested Coachella Valley and Desert AIDS Project family.

Please be sure to join us on Wednesday, May 25th at 10 a.m. for our Facebook LIVE event with Bruce! It will be fun, informative, and a great opportunity for us to give a big, warm, Coachella Valley welcome to Bruce.