“ we was thinking our company is safe”: Southern African lesbians’ experiences of coping with HIV

“ we was thinking our company is safe”: Southern African lesbians’ 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 community Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Johannesburg, Southern Africa


HIV service and prevention programmes have traditionally either ignored or ignored lesbians. The experiences of lesbians with HIV have actually likewise been unreported and unrecognised. 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, centers 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 intimate relationships with ladies. Of these ladies, experiences of coping with HIV are challenging because they find it difficult to comprehend the risk of female-to-female transmission. While dealing with their perceptions of invulnerability and accepting their HIV good status, they need to 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 indicates a not enough painful and sensitive research approaches to the research of HIV risks linked with intercourse between ladies (Johnson 2007; Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009). Ladies in same-sex relationships and lesbians stay hidden in HIV research, in avoidance programmes also to medical care providers. Urban myths and misconceptions about lesbian and same-sex women that are practising resistance have actually turned out to be thought by medical care providers in addition to by lesbians by themselves (Wells and Polders 2005). As an example, Richardson (2000) contends that due to exclusion from HIV prevention communications, numerous lesbians think they’ll not get HIV and therefore are ignorant or reject safer sex methods (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009).

Anecdotal evidence through the Southern African area, along with incidental information manufactured by away, a Pretoria-based LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organization, reveals that women that participate in same-sex techniques and lesbians are contaminated and suffering from HIV and AIDS. They report that 8% of same-sex practising women who were alert to their HIV status had disclosed as HIV good. The high prices of HIV amongst lesbians and bisexual ladies 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). http://www.camsloveaholics.com/sexcamly-review

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’ve intercourse with males) and HIV in lot of high effect educational journals. Nevertheless, there’s been a substantial not enough focus on the experiences of same-sex practising ladies or lesbians with regards to HIV when you look at the African continent as an entire. Such neglect of females’s experiences within research reflects an even more gender-bias that is widespread the location where ladies continue steadily to experience obstacles to care and help (Jarman, Walsh and De Lancy 2005). More especially, lesbians are over looked in HIV research and avoidance techniques due to the failure to determine and appreciate the social and behavioural complexity of lesbians’ life (Dolan and Davis 2003) or that ladies are not absolutely all 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 be regarded as having contributed to lesbian neglect (Formby 2011; energy, McNair and Carr 2009; Richardson 2000). Lesbians are regarded as to not be at an increased risk for HIV since it is thought which they participate in sexual intercourse just with other ladies. 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. Therefore perhaps maybe not self-evident that a lesbian’s intimate 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 play a role in the spread HIV and AIDS. Lesbians aren’t resistant to those conditions.

As past research has shown, social stigma, stereotypes and prejudice donate to making lesbians coping with HIV invisible (Wells and Polders 2005). The concomitant impact is that the experiences of lesbians with HIV autumn from the radar regarding the wider HIV positive community (Arend 2003). We keep that to cover focus on the experiences of lesbians coping with HIV may help in changing basic understandings of HIV transmission and challenge assumptions about consequently lesbian danger.


The analysis accompanied community participatory approach. The study was invested in the transfer of skills and capacity building of local LGBT organisations in the areas where research was conducted from the onset. Such a method seeks to allow communities to take part in the analysis of one’s own reality and also to market transformation that is social the advantage of the individuals. Key to your understanding is people’s participation in decision-making procedures, creating, execution, sharing of advantages, monitoring and evaluation of jobs (Kumar 2000). The method additionally requires elements such as for instance information providing, assessment, involvement for product incentives and self-mobilisation. Core to such a method could be the part of community ability as well as its relationship to avoidance practice and results.


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