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HIV Rates On The Rise Among Young African American Adults

Evening Edition

African Americans in San Diego and across the country still have the highest infection rate among people with AIDS. Nationwide, blacks represent 14 percent of the population, but 44 percent of all new cases of HIV infection.

In San Diego County, blacks represent about 5 percent of the population and 13 percent of people living with AIDS. Some say the prevention message seems to have gotten lost on young people between 18 and 24.

Acintia Wright has come a long way since she was diagnosed with HIV 16 years ago. "As they say, taken my lemons and made some wonderful lemonade, but I don't even want to make lemonade like this anymore," she said.

Wright recalls how she was raped by three men after someone put the sleeping sedative rohypnol in her drink. "I just never expected that to happen to me, she said.

Wright now works as an HIV/AIDS counselor at the San Ysidro Medical Center. When she was diagnosed in 1995 she was only given six years to live. Now,16 years later, newer drug treatments are allowing people with HIV to live longer and better manage the virus.

Wright is also involved with the nonprofit Faith-Based Working Group of San Diego. She said taking their message to the streets of San Diego seems to be working with young adults whose infection rates are on the rise.

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