Free as a Bird and HIV-Positive
A Pre-Release Preparation Checklist
August 15, 2000
You wait on pill line several times every day. You see a health care provider regularly. You attend a weekly support group. If you are HIV-positive and behind bars, this drill may sound familiar. You may be looking forward to the day when you will be out of prison, but you may also be asking yourself, "How will I fight this virus once I'm out?"
There is no easy answer to this question. But there are of plenty of things you can do from the inside that will help you prepare for living with HIV on the outside. Start early. Contact the discharge planning center 6-9 months before your release date for help gathering your paperwork. Remember that you're not alone and you're not expected to know everything. There are organizations out there that will help you. You may find that taking action while behind bars helps you mentally prepare for taking care of yourself and your HIV once you're free.
Here are some things you can do to prepare for living with HIV on the outside:
Get copies of the following:
Connect to services on the outside:
For further information on pre-release planning, contact Althea Brooks at the Fortune Society, 39 W. 19th St., 2nd fl., NY, NY 10011; 212.206.7070.
Sarah Leibel is an HIV treatment advocate in San Francisco.
This article was provided by PositiveWords.