HIPS promotes the health, rights, and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by sexual exchange and/or drug use due to choice, coercion, or circumstance. HIPS provides compassionate harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement that is respectful, non-judgmental, and affirms and honors individual power and agency.
We believe that those engaged in sex work, sex trade, and drug use should be able to live healthy, self-determined, and self-sufficient lives free from stigma, violence, criminalization or oppression. We will achieve this through engaging sex workers, drug users and our communities in challenging structural barriers to health, safety, and prosperity.
HIPS was formed in 1993 by community representatives in response to the recognized need for specialized services for youth engaging in sex for gain in Washington, D.C. We have since grown into a comprehensive program providing a variety of services, education and advocacy to sex workers, drug users and their communities.
HIPS Programs Include
Outreach – “Meeting People Where they’re At”
Peer-Based Education “By us For us”
Client Advocacy “Creating Options”
Technical Assistance & Capacity Building
The majority of HIPS’ contacts are made through our mobile outreach program. HIPS reaches an average of 100 sex workers each night on outreach and makes over 8,000 contacts every year. Three nights a week, between 11 pm and 8 am, HIPS staff and volunteers provide education, counseling, distribution of condoms & safer sex materials and syringe exchange on the streets. HIPS works to build positive relationships with sex workers through active listening, consistent outreach and unconditional support.
HIPS also helps sex workers set and achieve personal goals and growth through our Peer Education and Client Advocacy Program. HIPS 24-hour hotline provides counseling and referrals to anyone in or affected by prostitution or sex work. Hotline counselors can answer health questions or support parents whose sons or daughters are engaged in sex work. All of our services provide comprehensive, unconditional support, utilizing harm reduction models to assist youth and adults on the street to identify the skills they need or already have to make healthier life choices for themselves.
HIPS is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization that relies on support from over 100 dedicated volunteers, local community advocates, religious organizations, private foundations and businesses to support our work.