ReConnect Us – Success Stories

Maintaining Viral Suppression After Incarceration

Success Stories about ReConnect Us Participants

ReConnect Us: A Prison Initiative has successfully supported several participants with maintaining their viral suppression post-release. ReConnect Us would like to highlight three participants who have gracefully achieved personal goals, shown outstanding improvements with viral load results, or successfully created a new life pos-release.

Our first successful highlight was diagnosed in 1998 at 40 years old while serving a life sentence at the time. The participant was released 35 years later after making parole. The participant then, quickly, had to learn how to deal with an HIV diagnosis within the community, link to care, find employment, maintain stable housing, learn about technology, and much more. The participant utilized the ReConnect Us program by accepting assistance with linking to HIV medical care and setting goals for re-entering into the community. Once released, the participant was able to maintain housing with a family member and begin searching for employment. The participant later accepted a job offer and saved enough money to purchase a car. The participant continued to save and later moved into a home, all while maintaining viral suppression and attending all HIV medical appointments. This participant did not allow 35 years of incarceration to define who they were and have power over their success. The participant took control of their life and never looked back at their past. This is proof that it can be done!

Our second successful highlight was diagnosed with HIV in 2013 at the young age of 24. Three years later, he was diagnosed with AIDS. This participant suffered from substance abuse, homelessness, and an untreated mental health diagnosis. The participant spent many years in and out of care. Viral suppression reached two million at its highest and eight thousand at its lowest. The participant was also in and out of jail and prison without any guidance on how to turn his life around. The participant accepted the ReConnect Us program during his recent incarceration. On release day, the participant finally had a support system who did not judge- but instead offered support. To date, the participant is continuing with substance abuse classes, attending mental health sessions, adhering to HIV treatment, and has the lowest viral load that the participant has had since 2013. It’s evident that the ReConnect Us program successfully assisted with enhancing viral suppression, mental health, and confidence for this participant. 

Lastly, this participant has overcome all of life’s obstacles after being incarcerated for the first time for five years. This participant has a history of substance abuse and was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2006 at the age of 46. The participant wasn’t comfortable with returning to the community due to the severity of their crime. The participant accepted assistance from the ReConnect Us program without hesitation and with the main goal of creating a new life and starting over. The participant does not have family support or know of anyone within the resident area. The ReConnect Us program assisted with providing encouragement, guidance, support, and connections to medical care. The participant is currently adherent to HIV/primary medical care, attends substance abuse class, and has been drug free for almost six years. If that wasn’t enough, the participant is maintaining employment, found a church home, and was successfully awarded with a driving permit. The participant is happy with their new life and continues to grow emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.

For more information about ReConnect Us:  A Prison Initiative please contact Dr. Lashonda J. Williams, Data & Evaluation Program coordinator at (803) 898-7075 or