PALM SPRINGS — In a groundbreaking new initiative, Free Speech Coalition and Ducati Studios have partnered with the Palm Springs-based Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) to launch “The Next Steps Program.” The pioneering program will connect adult performers to affordable healthcare and social support services, including mental health care, as well as to low or no-cost access to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a once-daily medication that can block the contraction of HIV.
The project was initiated by adult producer and activist Trenton Ducati.
“PrEP is a revolutionary tool in the prevention of HIV, but as a producer I was surprised at the number of performers with little or no information about it, or who were misinformed about effects, costs and ease of access,” said Ducati. “I approached Desert AIDS Project, and they were eager to help, detailing all the ways we could provide greater access and support to adult performers. With the help of FSC, we can hopefully bring these services industry-wide.”
The Desert AIDS Project will work with Free Speech Coalition and Ducati Studios to develop stigma-free, community-specific material that can be distributed to performers on sets. D.A.P. will provide free set visits and PrEP consulting for any producer in the Coachella Valley who requests it, as well as connect performers who wish to access PrEP with low-or-no cost care in the region.
For producers not located in the Coachella Valley, D.A.P. will provide a free hotline connect performers with local PrEP navigators and healthcare advocates in their region.
“The Next Steps Program has the potential to dramatically improve health and well-being of sex workers in the Coachella Valley and beyond,” said Eric Paul Leue, Executive Director of Free Speech Coalition. “As a lifelong HIV/AIDS activist, I am proud to have FSC partner in this pioneering program. Thanks to Desert AIDS Project and Trenton Ducati, we are building a successful foundation for similar initiatives throughout California and across the country.”
“We are excited to join the Next Steps Program, especially as we see far too few men and women utilizing this prophylaxis therapy,” said Bruce Weiss, Director of Community Health at D.A.P.
The project will officially launch in February, at an event in Palm Springs.
Communications DIrector, Free Speech Coalition