“ we thought our company is safe”: Southern African lesbians‘ experiences of coping with HIV

“ we thought 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 Research 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 prevention and solution programmes have actually very long either ignored or ignored lesbians. The experiences of lesbians with HIV have actually likewise been unrecognised and unreported. This erasure has added into the invisibility of lesbians with regards to HIV and associated health problems. This community participatory research, centered on in-depth interviews with twenty-four self-identifying African lesbians living with HIV in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, centers around their individual experiences and circumstances. Ladies‘ experiences shed light and challenge notions that are popular lesbian risk. In specific among this team are lesbians whom self-report exclusive relationships that are sexual ladies. Of these ladies, experiences of coping with HIV are challenging while they battle to comprehend the risk of female-to-female transmission. While struggling with their very own perceptions of invulnerability and accepting their HIV good status, they should deal additionally with wide-ranging misconceptions about danger. The paper contends that in the context of HIV lesbians may not be thought to be a `no-risk‘ team. Wellness solutions and wellness providers ought to react to the 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 painful and sensitive research approaches in to the research of HIV risks linked 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 women that are practising resistance have actually turned out to be believed by medical care providers along with by lesbians by themselves (Wells and Polders 2005) https://www.camsloveaholics.com/sexcamly-review. As an example, Richardson (2000) contends that due to exclusion from HIV prevention communications, numerous lesbians think they’re not going to get HIV and so are ignorant or reject safer sex techniques (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009).

Anecdotal proof through the Southern African area, along with incidental information manufactured by away, a Pretoria-based LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organization, implies that ladies who participate in same-sex techniques and lesbians are contaminated and impacted by HIV and AIDS. They report that 8% of same-sex practising women who had been conscious of 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 females and lesbians, especially in Southern Africa, along with unsafe transactional intercourse with males generally (Polders and Wells 2004).

Until recently, there’s been research that is scant same-sex sex and HIV and helps with Southern Africa (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009). There clearly was now a developing critical corpus on MSM (males who possess intercourse with guys) and HIV in a number of high effect educational journals. Nevertheless, there is a substantial not enough focus on the experiences of same-sex practising females or lesbians in terms of HIV within the African continent as a whole. Such neglect of females’s experiences within research reflects a far more extensive gender-bias in the location where ladies continue steadily to experience obstacles to care and help (Jarman, Walsh and De Lancy 2005). More particularly, lesbians are ignored in HIV research and avoidance techniques due to the failure to discover and appreciate the social and behavioural complexity of lesbians‘ life (Dolan and Davis 2003) or that ladies are only a few the same epidemiologically (Mora and Monteiro 2010).

Lesbian intimate behavior and HIV

The presumption of a detailed relationship between intimate behavior and intimate identification could 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 females. This presumption overlooks an individual’s intimate history plus the reality that sexual identification is certainly not indicative of nor does it straight convert to intimate behavior. It is perhaps maybe maybe not self-evident that the lesbian’s intimate history excludes intercourse with males or many other intimate techniques (Roberts et al. 2000). |Khaxas (2008) argues that some cultural practices in Southern Africa render women’s bodies vulnerable and so play a role in the spread HIV and AIDS. Lesbians aren’t resistant to these conditions.

As past research has shown, social stigma, stereotypes and prejudice subscribe 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 associated with the wider HIV positive community (Arend 2003). We keep that to cover awareness of the experiences of lesbians coping with HIV may help out with 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 truth 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 tasks (Kumar 2000). The procedure additionally involves 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 particular relationship to avoidance practice and results.

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