The mission of PreventionWorks! is to curb the spread of HIV and other blood-borne diseases among injecting and other drug users, their sexual partners, and their children.
PreventionWorks! is a nonprofit organization with a harm reduction philosophy. We are the oldest and largest syringe exchange program in Washington, DC. Our services are delivered by our mobile outreach unit at 11 different locations, 5 days per week and by appointment through arranged delivery on Fridays. We also provide services five days per week at our Neighborhood Harm Reduction Center. We provide sterile injection equipment, harm reduction supplies, safe disposal of used supplies, HIV testing (with results in 20 minutes), drug treatment referrals, wound care and safer sex kits, food, education, trainings, support groups and HIV case management/treatment adherence.
PreventionWorks! began in 1996 as a project of the Whitman-Walker Clinic. In 1998, PreventionWorks! incorporated as its own organization after the U.S. Congress passed legislation forbidding the District of Columbia from using its local government funds to support harm reduction services and prohibiting organizations that receive federal funding from operating a syringe exchange program, even if funded with private donations. In 2007, the law was changed to allow publicly funded organizations to use private funds, as well as local DC government funds, to provide syringe exchange. PreventionWorks! today offers services, the tools and information for leading healthier lives and provides access and referrals to drug treatment, medical, and social services. With the opening of a Neighborhood Harm Reduction Center in January 2009, PreventionWorks! is transitioning into a full-service HIV prevention and health advocacy group.
What is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of drug use and other activities, incorporating a spectrum of strategies. There is no universal definition or formula for implementing harm reduction. However, some central principles to harm reduction practice include: