“ we thought our company is safe”: Southern lesbians that are african experiences of coping with HIV

“ we thought our company is 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 community 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 unreported and unrecognised. This erasure has added towards the invisibility of lesbians with regards to HIV and associated health problems. This community participatory research, according to 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 notions that are popular lesbian risk. In specific among this team are lesbians whom self-report exclusive intimate relationships with females. Of these ladies, experiences of coping with HIV are challenging because they battle to realize the chance for female-to-female transmission. While dealing with their very own 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 thought to be a `no-risk’ team. Wellness solutions and wellness providers ought to react to the ongoing wellness requirements of lesbians managing HIV.


The wide and misconception that is existing 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 https://www.camsloveaholics.com/imlive-review 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 also to medical care providers. Fables and misconceptions about lesbian and same-sex practising ladies’ resistance have actually turned out to be thought by medical care providers along with by lesbians by themselves (Wells and Polders 2005). Including, Richardson (2000) contends that as a result of exclusion from HIV prevention communications, numerous lesbians think they’re not going to get HIV and therefore are ignorant or reject safer sex methods (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009).

Anecdotal proof through the Southern region that is african along with incidental information manufactured by away, a Pretoria-based LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organization, suggests that ladies who practice same-sex methods and lesbians are contaminated and suffering from HIV and AIDS. They report that 8% of same-sex women that are practising had been conscious of 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 violence that is sexual ladies and lesbians, especially in Southern Africa, along with unsafe transactional intercourse with males generally speaking (Polders and Wells 2004).

Until recently, there is research that is scant same-sex sex and HIV and helps with Southern Africa (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009). There is certainly now a developing corpus that is critical MSM (males who possess intercourse with males) and HIV in a number of high effect scholastic journals. Nonetheless, there is a substantial not enough focus on the experiences of same-sex practising females or lesbians with regards to HIV within the continent that is african an entire. Such neglect of females’s experiences within research reflects a far more gender-bias that is widespread the region where ladies continue steadily to experience obstacles to care and help (Jarman, Walsh and De Lancy 2005). More especially, lesbians are ignored 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 intimate behavior and HIV

The presumption of an in depth 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 ever be at an increased risk for HIV since it is thought which they practice sex just with other ladies. This presumption overlooks an individual’s intimate history and also the reality that sexual identification just isn’t indicative of nor does it straight convert to intimate behavior. Therefore maybe maybe maybe maybe not self-evident that the lesbian’s intimate history excludes intercourse with males or other intimate techniques (Roberts et al. 2000). |Khaxas (2008) argues that some cultural practices in Southern Africa render women’s bodies vulnerable and thus donate to the spread HIV and AIDS. Lesbians aren’t resistant to those conditions.

As past studies have shown, social stigma, stereotypes and prejudice play a role in 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 for the wider HIV positive community (Arend 2003). We keep that to cover awareness of the experiences of lesbians coping with HIV may help in changing basic understandings of HIV transmission and challenge assumptions about consequently lesbian danger.


The research implemented 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 make it possible for communities to be involved in the analysis of these very own truth also to market transformation that is social the main benefit of the individuals. Key to your understanding is individuals 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 giving, assessment, involvement for product incentives and self-mobilisation. Core to such a method could be the part of community capability and its particular relationship to avoidance practice and results.

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