Five participants self-reported, with much disbelief, that their partners that are female have

Five participants self-reported, with much disbelief, that their partners that are female have

“It’s very confusing… I thought we lesbians are safe”

Perhaps infected them. All 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 didn’t ask if individuals had been created with HIV or any other feasible dangers of transmission). Although hard for them all to comprehend, truly the only possible path of transmission and dangerous behavior they could report had been intercourse along with other females. All participants also claimed out they had been infected with HIV and could not understand how it had happened that they were shocked to find. They had all thought that they were safe because they had only been with women:

“…i really couldn’t know the way it just happened because I happened to be fine and I also thought we (lesbians) are safe, as well as the only individual I happened to be sexually active with has also been a feminine. I really couldn’t comprehend… I possibly couldn’t realize. I possibly couldn’t know how I possibly could have contracted the herpes virus once I had thought I became safe in a real method! ” Zanele, 31 yrs old, Durban

“It’s the manner in which you get diseased as a lesbian as it’s actually confusing exactly how you are able. Other females understand from their lovers during penetrative sexual activity then again as a female who’s a lesbian whom additionally sleeps along with other females – it is extremely confusing. They obtain it” Lebo, 22 yrs old, Pretoria

The individuals’ confusion and disbelief is obvious through the above examples. Into the very first quote, Zanele repeats exactly just exactly how she “couldn’t understand” being HIV infected. This feeling of confusion and very nearly perhaps perhaps perhaps not believing this 1 is HIV good ended up being a recurring theme for the five individuals who reported exclusive intimate connections with ladies in their life time. It continues to be confusing for all of those exactly just how feasible transmission could happen between females.

For those individuals, coping with HIV demands constant explanations of how one got contaminated as assumptions override lived realities. Not just are individuals not able to comprehend feasible disease on their own, they simultaneously find it difficult to respond to constant concerns from other people exactly how they are often contaminated:

“People think that you have slept with a person and that is the method that you got HIV. It will make my life harder because as a lesbian woman who is HIV good, i must explain the way I got HIV. ” Bongi, 33 yrs old, Johannesburg

“In town they raise numerous questions regarding the actual fact they see…my partner is a woman that I am a lesbian and when. Then, `how did I be HIV positive once I have always been an individual who really really really loves other ladies? ‘ they ask. Some even get so far as saying it isn’t astonishing I have you ever heard that a woman and another woman could be involved? That I have HIV – where have actually” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban

It really is obvious through the above quotes that their HIV good status produces various difficulties when you look at the life of those ladies. The constant need to explain an individual’s status to others shows that you can still find misconceptions about HIV transmission in conjunction with lack of knowledge about same-sex relations.

Determining to reveal

Individuals had been also expected when they had disclosed their status to anyone except that the interviewer. Reactions suggest that virtually all individuals had disclosed to someone, some members of the family and friends that are few. But, a couple of individuals had just disclosed to 1 or two other people. Some had disclosed to household members, buddies and in addition publicly. On the list of individuals had been a couple of AIDS activists who have been understood within their communities to be residing freely with HIV. For anyone individuals who’d disclosed to members of the family and buddies, disclosure ended up being couched when you look at the language of protection – i.e. Protecting yourself and another from possible illness:

“As i’d like to guard the second individual, we still need to perform some exact same for myself. I might nothing like to have re-infected…As very very long while you carry on having unsafe 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 utilize gloves to aid so she defintely won’t be contaminated” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban

While individuals may shy away from disclosing to your average man or woman, all reported the requirement and need for disclosing to intimate lovers. Central to such disclosure is protecting somebody and ensuring she will not get diseased:

“Most for the lovers that I happened to be dating – many of them are now actually HIV negative and we just be sure that they’ll constantly stay HIV negative. I mightn’t risk their life and We just be sure that I’dn’t do just about anything…” Taati, 26 yrs old, Windhoek