Positive Health Project (PHP) was founded in 1993 and is one of the oldest harm reduction agencies in New York City. Its mission is to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other infectious diseases by providing health and prevention services to people who use intravenous drugs or engage in other risky behaviors. Now providing services to more than 8,000 clients, PHP has grown from a small syringe exchange program to a multi-service agency with a staff of twenty full-time employees supported by eighteen peer volunteers.
PHP is located in the Chelsea-Clinton neighborhood on Manhattan’s west side where AIDS case rates are more than three times higher than in New York City as a whole. While other health care providers have provided HIV/AIDS services in this area over the years, marginalized populations in the community still face barriers to HIV prevention and care, and remain at very high risk of infection and transmission. PHP was founded with the expressed purpose of serving these hard-to-reach and hard-to-retain community members, including intravenous drug users, sex workers, individuals who have experienced chronic or episodic homelessness, individuals with serious and persistent mental illness, and persons with histories of incarceration.
PHP’s success in attracting, retaining and assisting clients is attributable to the harm reduction philosophy that guides its work. Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce the negative consequences of drug use along a continuum that begins with safer use and may end with abstinence. Harm reduction strategies meet drug users "where they're at." Since its founding PHP has developed and refined a unique array of services designed to stabilize each client’s life, establish a mutually trusting, respectful, and nonjudgmental relationship, and reduce risk behaviors and the harms related to drug use. Our harm reduction services are a proven bridge to drug treatment, medical care, and healthier living for our clients, their families, and their communities.