A survivor's story: Life beyond an HIV diagnosis - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

A survivor's story: Life beyond an HIV diagnosis

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Thursday is National Women and Girls HIV and AIDS Awareness Day, and one San Diego woman is courageously sharing her story.

This Saturday, UCSD's AIDS Research Institute is hosting a conference for women. News 8 met this year's panel commentator.

Acintia Wright is a mother of four with a great job and one terrible memory.

"I was raped by three men and that's how I became HIV positive," she said.

It was 1995, and Acintia was living in the Bay Area. It was her birthday when a friend of hers took her out for fun.

"I found out later it was rohypnol in my drink, and it wasn't even an alcoholic drink," Acintia said.

The three men who raped her were never convicted. Three months later, Acintia was diagnosed with HIV.

"It's easy to carry hate, and I had so much hate for them I wanted to kill them, and I really found myself about to, and that's when I called my mom and told her to get me out of here," she said.

She moved to San Diego, and now works for a UCSD HIV research program, where she describes her life as "fabulous."

Many of the drugs that help Acintia live a healthy life were tested and researched at UCSD, which is why she feels it's her calling to give back, to share her story with HIV positive patients.

"We are not dying with this, we are living with it," she said.

According to UCSD, there are approximately 1,600 documented HIV positive women living in San Diego County, but 69 percent of those women are not currently receiving medical care.

"I've been living with HIV for 15 years," Acintia said.

Acintia says receiving proper care and taking medication is one reason why her HIV diagnosis has not progressed to AIDS. She plans to live a full life, and offers a message to the newly infected.

"Don't take it as a death sentence. You can live," she said.

If you're a women and you would like to attend the A Woman's Voice 2011 Conference, it takes place this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront.

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