“It’s very confusing… we thought we lesbians are safe”
Perhaps infected them. All those individuals reported they’d never ever been with male partners or had contact with medical transmissions or drug that is injecting (we failed to ask if individuals had been created with HIV or any other feasible dangers of transmission). Although problematic for them all to know, the sole possible route of transmission and behaviour that is risky could report had been intercourse along with other females. All individuals additionally claimed which they had been surprised to learn they was contaminated with HIV and may perhaps not know how it had occurred. That they had all thought that simply because they had just been with females, they certainly were safe:
“…i possibly couldn’t know the way it simply happened because I became fine and I also thought we (lesbians) are safe, while the only individual I became intimately active with ended up being also a feminine. I really couldn’t comprehend… I possibly couldn’t realize. I possibly couldn’t know the way I really could have contracted the herpes virus whenever I had thought I became safe in way! ” Zanele, 31 yrs old, Durban
“It’s how you get badly infected as a lesbian since it’s actually confusing just exactly how it will be possible. Other ladies understand which they have it from their partners during penetrative sexual activity then again as a lady who’s a lesbian whom additionally sleeps along with other females – it is extremely confusing. ” Lebo, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
The participants’ confusion and disbelief is obvious through the examples that are above. Into the quote that is first Zanele repeats just exactly how she “couldn’t understand” being HIV infected. This feeling of confusion and nearly perhaps not believing this one is HIV good was a theme that is recurring the five individuals whom reported exclusive sexual associates with ladies in their life time. It stays not clear for several of them exactly just exactly how transmission that is possible take place between females.
For those individuals, managing HIV demands constant explanations of how one got infected as assumptions override lived realities. Not merely are individuals struggling to comprehend feasible disease on their own, they simultaneously find it difficult to respond to constant concerns from others about how precisely they may be infected:
“People think you got HIV that you have slept with a man and that’s how. It creates my entire life much much harder because as being a lesbian girl who is HIV good, i have to explain the way I got HIV. ” Bongi, 33 yrs old, Johannesburg
“In the city they raise numerous questions regarding the actual fact that i will be a lesbian and once they see…my partner is a lady. Then, `how did I be HIV good whenever I have always been someone who really loves other ladies? ‘ they ask. Some also get in terms of saying it isn’t astonishing that We have HIV – where have actually we have you ever heard that a woman and another woman is involved? ” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban
It really is obvious through the above quotes that their HIV status that is positive different difficulties into the life of the females. The demand that is constant explain an individual’s status to other people implies that you can nudelive still find misconceptions about HIV transmission along with ignorance about same-sex relations.
Choosing to reveal
Individuals had been additionally asked should they had disclosed their status to anybody apart from the interviewer. Responses suggest that practically all individuals had disclosed to someone, some loved ones and friends that are few. But, several individuals had just disclosed to at least one or two other people. Some had disclosed to family unit members, buddies as well as publicly. On the list of individuals had been several AIDS activists have been known within their communities to be residing freely with HIV. For the people individuals that has disclosed to loved ones and buddies, disclosure had been couched within the language of protection – i.e. Protecting yourself and another from feasible disease:
I still have to do the same for myself“As I would like to protect the next person. I might nothing like to have re-infected…As very long you can certainly still get re-infected. While you continue having non-safe sex, ” Zintle, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
“My mom as well knows (about my HIV status) because if we collapse in front side of her she have to know that she must utilize gloves to greatly help so she defintely won’t be infected” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban
While individuals may shy far from disclosing to your public, all reported the need and need for disclosing to intimate lovers. Central to such disclosure is protecting someone and ensuring she will not get diseased:
“Most associated with lovers that I became dating – a lot of them are now HIV negative and we just be sure that they can constantly stay HIV negative. I would personallyn’t risk their life and We just be sure that I would personallyn’t do just about anything…” Taati, 26 yrs old, Windhoek