Some 25 percent of HIV-positive Americans pass through prison at some point, and staying healthy can be as hard after release as it was behind the walls.

When Teresa Sullivan landed in a Pennsylvania county jail for four months in 2007, she had to fight for her HIV meds (she went without them for a month). Oddly, that experience helped prepare her for release: She learned to advocate for herself, which she calls a key survival tool. Her other pointers:

• Get back in touch with your family to help you plug in to life again.
• Get right back to your doctor, or find one if you didn’t have one before.
• Get therapy and support. Sullivan says, “Get NA, AA or any other ‘A’ you need.”

For a doctor and AIDS service organization (ASO) near you, click “survival tools” at An ASO can also help you find housing and financial coverage for care.