“It’s very confusing… we was thinking we lesbians are safe”
Possibly infected them. Each one of these individuals reported that they had never ever been with male lovers or had contact with medical transmissions or drug that is injecting (we failed to ask if individuals had been created with HIV or other feasible dangers of transmission). Although burdensome for them all to know, the sole possible path of transmission and dangerous behavior they could report ended up being sex along with other females. All individuals additionally reported which they had been surprised to learn they was indeed contaminated with HIV and might maybe not know the way it had occurred. 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 couldn’t comprehend… I really couldn’t realize. I really couldn’t know the way I really could have contracted the herpes virus whenever I had thought I became safe in a real method! ” Zanele, 31 yrs old, Durban
“It’s how you get badly infected as a lesbian as it’s actually confusing exactly how it’s possible. Other females understand from their lovers during penetrative sexual activity however as a lady who’s a lesbian whom additionally sleeps along with other females – it is rather confusing. They get it” Lebo, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
The participants’ confusion and disbelief is obvious through the examples that are above. Into the very first estimate, Zanele repeats just exactly just how she “couldn’t understand” being HIV infected. This feeling of confusion and nearly perhaps not believing that certain is HIV good ended up being a theme that is recurring the five individuals whom reported exclusive sexual connections with ladies in their life time. It remains confusing for all of those just 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 merely are individuals not able to comprehend feasible disease they simultaneously struggle to answer constant questions from others about how they could be infected for themselves:
“People think you got HIV that you have slept with a man and that’s how. It generates my entire life much harder because as a lesbian girl whom is HIV positive, i must explain the way I got HIV. ” Bongi, 33 yrs old, Johannesburg
“In town they raise numerous questions regarding the simple fact that i will be a lesbian and once they see…my partner is a female. Then, `how did I be HIV good once I have always been an individual who really loves other females? ‘ they ask. Some also get so far as saying it is really not astonishing that We have HIV – where have actually we have you ever heard that a woman and another girl could be included? ” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban
It really is obvious through the above quotes that their HIV status that is positive different problems within the everyday lives of the ladies. The demand that is constant explain an individual’s status to other people shows that you may still find misconceptions about HIV transmission along with lack of knowledge about same-sex relations.
Deciding to reveal
Individuals had been additionally expected when they had disclosed their status to anybody except that the interviewer. Reactions suggest that pretty much all individuals had disclosed to someone, some household members and few buddies. Nevertheless, a participants that are few just disclosed to 1 or two other people. Some had disclosed to loved ones, buddies and in addition publicly. Among the list of individuals had been a couple of AIDS activists have been understood within their communities to openly be living with HIV. For anyone individuals that has disclosed to members of the family and buddies, disclosure had been couched when you look at the language of protection – i.e. Protecting yourself and another from feasible infection:
I still have to do the same for myself“As I would like to protect the next person. I might nothing like to obtain re-infected…As very very very long while you carry on having non-safe sex, you are able to nevertheless get re-infected. ” Zintle, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
“My mom as well understands (about my HIV status) because if we collapse in front side of her she have to know that she must use gloves to aid so she will not be contaminated” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban
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 someone and ensuring she will not get diseased:
“Most associated with the lovers that I became dating – many of them are in reality HIV negative and we just be sure that they’ll always 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