News March 2022
Hey Friends --
Spring is all about new beginnings and celebrating growth. So is HIPS.
What growth have you had that’s worth celebrating? We encourage you to shower yourself with a little self-love this spring. Most of us don’t do that often enough.
There is still a lot of negativity, violence, and worry going on all around us. It’s easy to get lost in that. We suggest a simple mantra for managing:
*Don’t judge* *Love yourself* *Look out for others* *Support HIPS*
HIPS is looking forward to the abundance offered by spring, the abundance of care, and the abundance of sunshine.
Love & lube,
PS: Harm reduction work is providing the tools for folks to make safe personal choices - free from judgment. Your donations are essential tools for HIPS to make that work happen. Can you give a gift today?
We Don't Lecture Anyone, Just Educate
Testing for HIV makes sense. Michelle Spikes thought that it made sense too. In 2018 Michelle took a course offered by the DC Department of Health that taught her how to test for infectious diseases. It only takes a prick of the finger and Michelle can have results back in 15 minutes. It was through a DC Department of Health program that Michelle came to HIPS to administer the tests to our community. Imani, a HIPS Peer Outreach Specialist, also performs testing. There are other testing locations in DC. Michelle explains that our community chooses HIPS because “HIPS is different. It’s non-judgmental, we don’t lecture anyone, just educate.”
In the last couple years Michelle has seen a significant decrease in requests for testing. She sees about a third of the folks than she did before March 2020. HIPS had a short 2 month interruption in testing services back in 2020 because of Covid19, but are up and running now. But it’s not because of the pandemic - as you might think. Michelle points to the lack of incentives as the biggest obstacle. We think of it this way - by getting tested, folks are both taking care of themselves AND helping HIPS succeed. We love to celebrate that by giving them a small token of appreciation like a gift card or smart trip card. Something for them. We’ve also provided snacks to encourage participation, but budget cuts means we have less money to do so. “But without those incentives we just don’t see the same amount of people coming in.” Michelle says
More Amazing Community Support
A big HIPS HIPS Hooray!
Thank you to Meera Iyer for sending HIPS gas cards for filling up the outreach van.
A particularly useful gift right now as gas prices are climbing.
Interested in donating gas, SmarTrip, or gift cards to HIPS?
Email email@example.com or drop them in the mail to:
HIPS Development Dept.
PO Box 90738
Washington, DC 2009
Meet Our New Board Member
For four years, I was an everyday injection drug user. During that time, I was exposed to Hepatitis C, and while thankfully my body was able to fight off infection, it forever changed my consumption habits. At the same time that hepatitis was making its way around the circle of heroin users in my tiny town, HIV was as well, so dedicated healthcare workers from a small non-profit called the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin were able to alert me to the issue. They directed me where to get tested, and provided me with clean syringes, tourniquets, cookers, cotton, alcohol pads, everything me and my friends needed in order to consume more safely. Equally importantly, they did it all with grace and humor, and a completely non-judgemental attitude. It is because of them (and a lot of luck) that I was able to avoid any blood-transmitted infections during those years, and I am forever grateful. HIPS and the harm reduction professionals who work here remind me a lot of ARCW, so I want to work together to ensure that folks in DC have access to those same resources that made such a difference in my life. That's why I'm so excited to join the board, and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you who are engaging in this critical work. I know firsthand how important it is, and I want to say thank you for all you do.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Staying alive. Really didn't think I would make it to 33, but here I am!
What is your idea of perfect happiness? I don't know, but finally defeating the chemical imbalance in my brain might be a good place to start.
What is your most treasured possession? A bracelet my great-grandfather made by hammering four nails together. My grandmother gave it to me and I've worn it ever since.
What is your favorite journey? I love a good road trip with friends. I lived in the Southwest for five years, and travelling through the desert with a trusted companion is one of the greatest joys in life. Especially if you're tripping in more ways than one.
When and where were you the happiest? In love, on a boat off the coast of Portugal. Absolute bliss.
Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to learn how to play the violin. Also, being able to speak in front of crowds without freaking out would be nice.
Which living person do you most admire? My maternal grandmother. She dropped out of high school when she became pregnant with my uncle, and the man who impregnated her abused her for many years before she had the courage to divorce him -- at a time and in a place where divorce wasn't all that common. To this day she is still the most loving and giving person I know, and I admire her strength and compassion greatly.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? My little goth heart would love to come back as a ghost, just so I could <bleep> with people, but that might get tiring after a while, so I'm going to say a bird or bat, so I could experience flight for the first time.
Other Ways to Support HIPS
Help HIPS restock our food pantry
HIPStar Dana McCullough (She/Her/Hers)
As the MAT Services Coordinator at the HIPS Clinic. Dana's goal is to inspire her clients to work towards a safe and harm reducing lifestyle. Dana ensures her clients know of all HIPS' services such as the HEP C Clinic, syringe exchange, and others. Dana meets her clients with empathy and compassion, an open heart and is always willing to listen. Dana has been affiliated with HIPS since 2003 in so many ways. She started as a client, a volunteer, and became a Peer Educator, facilitating groups on harm reduction techniques. Dana became a syringe exchange secondary and is now Community Health Worker and an all around around for sex worker's rights. Dana attends college at the University of the District of Columbia for her Bachelors in Nursing and looks forward to many more years of service to her clients in the community!
We asked Dana a few questions...
What is your Motto? LOVE, LAUGH, LIVE AND OF COURSE KOOL BEANS!!!
Which living person do you most admire? MY MOTHER
Greatest achievement? I am still fulfilling it. MY GOALS TO BE A PROFESSIONAL STUDENT OF LIFE'S EXPERIENCES!
KNOWLEDGE KEEPS ME SMILING AS WELL AS EXPERIENCING LIFE W/ MY COMMUNITY!
Thank you for sharing Dana!
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