May 13, 2016 at 6:00 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
HIPS staffer chosen for HIV/AIDS fellowship program
Sasanka Jinadasa, HIPS, gay news, Washington Blade

Sasanka Jinadasa of HIPS (Photo courtesy of Michael Pauker)

A D.C. advocate is among the 10 people who have received fellowships through an inaugural program that the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign have launched.

HIPS Capacity Building and Community Resource Manager Sasanka Jinadasa and the other recipients will receive what a press release described as “nine months of intensive leadership training” through the HIV 360° Fellowship Program “to elevate their advocacy work in communities that continue to be deeply impacted by the epidemic.”

HRC received $600,000 in grants from the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 2014 and 2015. These funds helped launch the fellowship program.

“As a queer woman of color, working with sex workers and drug users, the stigma around HIV permeates so many spaces I move through,” Jinadasa told the Washington Blade in a statement. “I’m grateful to be a part of the HIV 360 Fellowship Program, where I have had the chance to meet incredible young people working on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and dedicated to creating spaces for people to thrive, rather than just survive.”

“I’ve already learned so much and I’m so excited to continue learning among this group of talented, passionate, and creative individuals,” added Jinadasa. “Investing in young people is crucial to this work, as we grow together to create the world we want to live in.”

HIPS is a Washington-based organization that works with sex workers and drug users. It was founded in 1993.

“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,” reads HIPS’ vision statement on its website. “HIPS provides compassionate harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement that is respectful, non-judgmental, and affirms and honors individual power and agency.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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