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

“ we was thinking 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 over looked lesbians. The experiences of lesbians with HIV have actually likewise been unreported and unrecognised. This erasure has added to your invisibility of lesbians pertaining 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, centers 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 relationships that are sexual females. Of these ladies, experiences of coping with HIV are challenging while they find it difficult to realize the chance of female-to-female transmission. While dealing with their particular perceptions of invulnerability and accepting their HIV status that is positive they need to deal additionally with wide-ranging misconceptions about danger. The paper contends that inside the context of HIV lesbians may not be seen as a `no-risk’ team. Wellness solutions and wellness providers ought to answer the ongoing health requirements of lesbians managing HIV.


The wide and existing misconception that same-sex practising females and lesbians 1 face no significant HIV-related wellness threats recommends deficiencies in sensitive and painful research approaches to the research of HIV risks linked with intercourse between females (Johnson 2007; Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009). Ladies in same-sex relationships and lesbians stay hidden in HIV research, in avoidance programmes along with 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 in addition to by lesbians on their own (Wells and Polders 2005). 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 therefore are ignorant or reject safer sex techniques (Reddy, Sandfort and Rispel 2009).

Anecdotal proof through the Southern African area, in conjunction with incidental information produced by away, a Pretoria-based LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organization, demonstrates that ladies who practice same-sex methods and lesbians are contaminated and impacted by 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 amounts of rape and violence that is sexual females and lesbians, especially in Southern Africa, in addition to 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 was now a developing critical corpus on MSM (males that have intercourse with males) and HIV in a number of high effect scholastic journals. But, there is a substantial not enough focus on the experiences of same-sex practising females or lesbians pertaining to HIV within the continent that is african 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 discover and appreciate the social and behavioural complexity of lesbians’ everyday lives (Dolan and Davis 2003) or that ladies are not totally 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 may also be viewed 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 practice sexual intercourse just with other ladies. This presumption overlooks an individual’s intimate history as well as the reality that sexual identity isn’t indicative of nor does it straight convert to intimate behavior. It is maybe perhaps perhaps maybe not self-evident that a lesbian’s intimate history excludes intercourse with males or many other intimate methods (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 these conditions.

As past studies have 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 wider HIV positive community (Arend privatecams cams 2003). We keep that to pay for focus on the experiences of lesbians coping with HIV may help in changing basic understandings of HIV transmission and consequently challenge presumptions about lesbian danger.


The research observed a grouped community participatory approach. Through the beginning, the analysis had been dedicated to the transfer of abilities and capability building of neighborhood LGBT organisations within the places where research had been carried out. Such a method seeks make it possible for communities to be involved in the analysis of one’s own truth and also to market transformation that is social the benefit 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 capability and its own relationship to avoidance practice and results.

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