Desert Sun (Palm Springs) (10.29.12)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women make up approximately 10 percent of the 2,200 Desert AIDS Project (DAP) clients, but one-quarter of the total number of patients living with HIV/AIDS are female. In this environment, female patients and their needs would have very low visibility, but for the DAP donor program, 100 Women. The 100 Women program was founded in 2006 to raise funds to meet the needs of women and children living with, affected by, or at risk for HIV. So far the program has raised more than $416,000. Its new chairperson Terri Ketover, who joined the DAP board in February, has doubled the number of members from 38 to 73 and is hoping to reach 100 by the end of 2012. Ketover, a psychologist who moved to the desert about 12 years ago, describes the project as her passion.
To join the club, donors must give at least $1,500 a year. When members’ donations reach $25,000 or greater, they receive tickets to the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards festivities. The 100 Women group has challenged DAP’s other donation program, Partners for Life, in the November 4, Palm Springs AIDS Walk. About 25 percent of DAP’s funding comes from its chain of Revivals thrift stores. The 100 Women Boutique will open in one of the Revivals stores on November 15 with donated and consigned designer clothes and accessories for sale. Ketover stated that all proceeds will go to the 100 Women program and the store will raise awareness of the program. Also, the proceeds from this year’s DAP “Dancing with the Desert Stars” fundraiser will go to the 100 Women program.
In addition to programs specific to HIV infection, 100 Women funds gynecological exams and mammograms and brings in specialists who understand issues presented by HIV/AIDS and the medications taken to keep it in check. The agency also offers support groups for women who can choose from substance abuse and other non-gender specific groups. Since the average DAP client has an annual income of about $10,800, the agency helps fill other needs such as food, housing, and school uniforms for elementary school students. The program also funds free HIV testing for at-risk women.