“It’s very confusing… we was thinking we lesbians are safe”
Perhaps infected them. Every one of these individuals reported they’d never ever been with male lovers or had contact with medical transmissions or drug that is injecting (we would not ask if individuals had been created with HIV or any other feasible dangers of transmission). Although burdensome for them all to comprehend, the only real possible route of transmission and behaviour that is risky could report had been intercourse along with other females. All individuals additionally reported they had been surprised to learn they was indeed infected with HIV and may maybe not know the way it had occurred. That they had all thought that they were safe because they had only been with women:
“…i really couldn’t know how it just happened I thought we (lesbians) are safe, and the only person I was sexually active with was also a female because I was fine and. I really couldn’t understand… I really couldn’t comprehend. I really couldn’t know the way I really could have contracted herpes once I had thought I became safe in a real means! ” Zanele, 31 yrs old, Durban
“It’s the manner in which you get badly infected as a lesbian as it’s actually confusing just just exactly how it will be possible. Other females understand they obtain it from their lovers during penetrative sexual activity then again as a female that is a lesbian whom also sleeps along with other females — it is rather confusing. ” Lebo, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
The individuals’ confusion and disbelief is obvious through the above examples. Into the quote that is first Zanele repeats just exactly just how she “couldn’t understand” being HIV infected. This feeling of confusion and very nearly maybe not believing this 1 is HIV good ended up being a recurring theme for the five individuals whom reported exclusive sexual associates with ladies in their life time. It stays uncertain for all of those just exactly how feasible transmission could take place between females.
Of these individuals, coping with HIV demands constant explanations of how one got contaminated as assumptions override lived realities. Not just are individuals struggling to realize feasible disease they simultaneously struggle to answer constant questions from others about how they could be infected for themselves:
“People think sexcamly mobile that you’ve got slept with a guy and that is the manner in which you got HIV. It will make my entire life much much harder because as a lesbian girl whom is HIV good, i have to explain the way I got HIV. ” Bongi, 33 yrs old, Johannesburg
“In the city they raise numerous questions about the simple fact they see…my partner is a woman that I am a lesbian and when. Then, `how did I be HIV good once I have always been someone who really loves other ladies? ‘ they ask. Some even go so far as saying it isn’t surprising that We have HIV — where have actually we have you ever heard that a woman and another woman could be involved? ” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban
It really is obvious through the above quotes that their HIV status that is positive various difficulties when you look at the everyday lives of those females. The demand that is constant explain a person’s status to others shows that there are misconceptions about HIV transmission in conjunction with lack of knowledge about same-sex relations.
Determining to reveal
Individuals had been additionally expected should they had disclosed their status to anybody apart from the interviewer. Reactions suggest that nearly all individuals had disclosed up to someone, some family unit members and few buddies. Nonetheless, a participants that are few just disclosed to a single or two other people. Some had disclosed to household members, buddies as well as publicly. Among the list of individuals had been several AIDS activists who had been understood inside their communities to openly be living with HIV. For many individuals that has disclosed to family relations and buddies, disclosure had been couched into the language of protection – i.e. Protecting yourself and another from feasible infection:
“As i’d like to guard the following individual, we nevertheless need to perform some exact same for myself. I might not like to have re-infected…As very long you can certainly still get re-infected. While you keep on having non-safe sex, ” Zintle, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
“My mom as well understands (about my HIV status) because that she must use gloves to help so she won’t be infected” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban if I collapse in front of her she must know
All stated the necessity and importance of disclosing to intimate partners while participants may shy away from disclosing to the general public. Central to such disclosure is protecting somebody and ensuring she will not get infected:
“Most associated with lovers that I became dating — a lot of them are in fact HIV negative and we just be sure that they can constantly stay HIV negative. I mightn’t risk their everyday lives and We just be sure that I mightn’t do just about anything…” Taati, 26 yrs old, Windhoek