“ we was thinking we’re safe”: Southern lesbians that are african experiences of coping with HIV

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“ we was thinking we’re safe”: Southern lesbians that are african experiences of coping with HIV

Zethu Matebeni

1 Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town, Southern Africa

Vasu Reddy

2 Individual and Social Developing Analysis Programme, Human Sciences Analysis Council, Pretoria, Southern Africa

Theo Sandfort

3 HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, ny State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, ny, United States Of America

Ian Southey-Swartz

4 Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Johannesburg, Southern Africa


HIV service and prevention programmes have actually very long either ignored or ignored lesbians. The experiences of lesbians with HIV have likewise been unrecognised and unreported. This erasure has added into the invisibility of lesbians in terms of HIV and associated health problems. This community participatory research, predicated on in-depth interviews with twenty-four self-identifying African lesbians living with HIV in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, is targeted on their experiences that are personal circumstances. Ladies’ experiences shed light and challenge popular notions around lesbian risk. In specific among this team are lesbians whom self-report exclusive relationships that are sexual females. Of these females, experiences of coping with HIV are challenging while they battle to comprehend the risk of female-to-female transmission. While dealing with their particular perceptions of invulnerability and accepting their HIV status that is positive they should deal additionally with wide-ranging misconceptions about danger. The paper contends that inside the context of HIV lesbians can’t be seen as a `no-risk’ team. Wellness solutions and wellness providers ought to answer the ongoing wellness requirements of lesbians coping with HIV.


The wide and existing misconception that same-sex practising females and lesbians 1 face no significant HIV-related wellness threats recommends too little sensitive and painful research approaches in to the research of HIV risks associated with intercourse between ladies (Johnson 2007; Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009). Feamales in same-sex relationships and lesbians stay hidden in HIV research, in avoidance programmes along with to medical care providers. Urban myths and misconceptions about lesbian and same-sex practising ladies’ immunity have actually turned out to be thought by healthcare providers also by lesbians on their own (Wells and Polders 2005). For instance, Richardson (2000) contends that as a result of exclusion from HIV prevention communications, numerous lesbians think they’re not going to get HIV and so are ignorant or reject safer sex methods (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009).

Anecdotal proof through the Southern region that is african in conjunction with incidental information produced by away, a Pretoria-based LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organization, suggests that women that participate in same-sex methods and lesbians are contaminated and impacted by HIV and AIDS. They report that 8% of same-sex practising women who had been alert to their HIV status had disclosed as HIV good. The high prices of HIV amongst lesbians and bisexual females had been related to alarming degrees of rape and intimate physical violence among ladies and lesbians, especially in Southern Africa, in addition to unsafe transactional intercourse with males generally speaking (Polders and Wells 2004).

Until recently, there’s been scant research on same-sex sex and HIV and helps with Southern Africa (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009). There was now a developing critical corpus on MSM (males who possess intercourse with males) and HIV in a number of high effect scholastic journals. Nonetheless, there’s been a substantial not enough focus on the experiences of same-sex practising females or lesbians in terms of HIV into the continent that is african a entire. Such neglect of females’s experiences within research reflects an even more extensive gender-bias in the region where ladies continue steadily to experience obstacles to care and help (Jarman, Walsh and De Lancy 2005). More particularly, lesbians are over looked in HIV research and avoidance techniques due to the failure to discover and appreciate the social and behavioural complexity of lesbians’ everyday lives (Dolan and Davis 2003) or that ladies are only a few the epidemiologically that is sameMora and Monteiro 2010).

Lesbian behaviour that is sexual HIV

The presumption of an in depth relationship between intimate behavior and intimate identification can certainly be regarded as having contributed to lesbian neglect (Formby 2011; energy, McNair and Carr 2009; Richardson 2000). Lesbians are regarded as to not be in danger for HIV since it is thought which they practice sex just with other females. This presumption overlooks an individual’s intimate history plus the reality that sexual identification just isn’t indicative of nor does it straight convert to intimate behavior. It is maybe maybe not self-evident that a lesbian’s sexual history excludes intercourse with males or some other intimate methods (Roberts et al. 2000). |Khaxas (2008) argues that some cultural practices in Southern Africa render women’s bodies vulnerable and therefore subscribe to the spread HIV and AIDS. Lesbians aren’t resistant to these conditions.

As past studies have shown, social stigma, stereotypes and prejudice play a role in making lesbians coping with HIV invisible (Wells and Polders sexier live sex cam 2005). The concomitant impact is the fact that experiences of lesbians with HIV autumn from the radar regarding the wider HIV positive community (Arend 2003). We keep that to pay for focus on the experiences of lesbians managing HIV may help in changing basic understandings of HIV transmission and challenge assumptions about consequently lesbian danger.


The research observed community participatory approach. Through the beginning, the analysis had been dedicated to the transfer of abilities and ability building of neighborhood LGBT organisations into the places where research had been carried out. Such a method seeks to allow communities to take part in the analysis of one’s own truth and also to market transformation that is social the advantage of the individuals. Key to your understanding is individuals participation in decision-making procedures, creating, execution, sharing of advantages, evaluation and monitoring of jobs (Kumar 2000). The method additionally requires elements such as for example information providing, assessment, involvement for product incentives and self-mobilisation. Core to such a method could be the part of community ability and its own relationship to avoidance practice and results.

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