What is harm reducation?

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs. It accepts, for better or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.


Through its harm reduction portfolio, AIDS United engages in grantmaking, technical assistance and advocacy to reduce the health, psychosocial and socioeconomic disparities experienced by people who use drugs.
AIDS United’s harm reduction grants and initiatives support evidence-based and community-driven approaches to prevent the transmission of both HIV and viral hepatitis, reduce injection-related injuries, increase overdose prevention and reversal efforts, and connect people who use drugs to comprehensive prevention, treatment and support services.

“HRH413 couldn't save lives without the Harm Reduction Futures Fund grant. The evidence for this statement can been proven; not with statistics, but with the individuals and families who have built sustainable trusting relationships with our outreach workers.

We are the ones they call when help is needed. And our teams are comprised of people who were once participants and now serve the most marginalized among us.

Our model works for the community because we ARE the community.”

Learn, contribute and advocate

Policy Priorities

AIDS United’s policy team is dedicated to building and strengthening relationships that elevate the importance of and support for harm reduction within the HIV community and among our federal, state and local governmental partners. Through a harm reduction approach, we can affirm the rights, health, and dignity of people who use drugs and their loved ones, and together, end the HIV and overdose epidemic.

In order to achieve this goal, it is imperative that our elected leaders:

  • End the ban on the use of federal funds to purchase syringes.
  • Increase federal funding for harm reduction and syringe services programs in accordance with advocates’ stated needs.
  • Allow states and jurisdictions to open up evidence based, lifesaving overdose prevention centers without interference.
  • Decriminalize drug use and provide justice and restitution to the victims of the war on drugs, particularly in Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.
  • Ensure that people who use drugs are active participants in the development of drug user health policy.


Reach out

If you need to get in touch with the team, send an email to harmreduction@aidsunited.org and someone will be in touch.