Five individuals self-reported, with much disbelief, that their feminine lovers could have

“It’s very confusing… we was thinking 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 inserting medication usage (we failed to ask if individuals had been created with HIV or other possible dangers of transmission). Although burdensome for them all to know, really the only possible route of transmission and dangerous behavior they could report ended up being intercourse along with other females. All individuals additionally reported out they had been infected with HIV and could not understand how it had happened that they were shocked to find. That they had all thought that they were safe because they had only been with women:

“…i possibly couldn’t know the way 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 comprehend… I really couldn’t realize. I possibly couldn’t know how I really could have contracted the herpes virus whenever I had thought I became safe in method! ” Zanele, 31 yrs old, Durban

“It’s the manner in which you get diseased as a lesbian since it’s actually confusing exactly how it will be possible. Other ladies understand from their lovers during penetrative sexual activity then again as a female who’s a lesbian whom also sleeps along with other females – it is rather confusing. Which they obtain it” Lebo, 22 yrs old, Pretoria

The individuals’ confusion and disbelief is obvious through the examples that are above. Into the quote that is first Zanele repeats exactly just how she “couldn’t understand” being HIV infected. This feeling of confusion and very nearly maybe perhaps not believing this one is HIV good ended up being a theme that is recurring the five individuals whom reported exclusive intimate connections with feamales in their lifetime. It continues to be not clear for a lot of of those exactly exactly exactly how transmission that is possible 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 on their own, they simultaneously battle 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 harder because as being a lesbian girl whom is HIV good, i must explain the way I got HIV. ” Bongi, 33 yrs old, Johannesburg

“In town they raise many questions regarding the actual fact that i will be a lesbian and once they see…my partner is a female. Then, `how did I be HIV good whenever I am someone who really really loves other ladies? ‘ they ask. Some even get in terms of saying it’s not astonishing I ever heard that a lady and another woman could be included? That We have HIV – where have actually” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban

It really is obvious through the above quotes that their HIV status that is positive different difficulties when you look at the everyday lives of the ladies. The constant need to explain a person’s status to other people implies that you can still find misconceptions about HIV transmission in conjunction with lack of knowledge about same-sex relations.

Determining to disclose

Participants had been additionally expected when they had disclosed their status to anybody except that the interviewer. Responses suggest that just about all individuals had disclosed up to somebody, some family unit members and friends that are few. Nevertheless, a couple of individuals had only disclosed to 1 or two other people. Some had disclosed to nearest and dearest, buddies as well as publicly. Among the list of individuals had been a few AIDS activists who had been known inside their communities to be residing freely with HIV. For all those participants that has disclosed to family relations and buddies, disclosure ended up being couched into the language of protection – i.e. Protecting yourself and another from feasible illness:

I still have to do the same for myself“As I would like to protect the next person. I’d nothing like to get re-infected…As very very long while you continue having unsafe sex, it is possible to nevertheless get re-infected. ” Zintle, 22 yrs old, Pretoria

“My mom as well knows (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

While participants may shy far from disclosing towards the average man or woman, all claimed the requirement and significance of disclosing to intimate lovers. Central to disclosure that is such protecting someone and ensuring she will not get badly infected:

“Most associated with lovers that I became dating – a lot of them are in reality HIV negative and we just be sure that they can constantly stay HIV negative. I would personallyn’t risk their everyday lives and We just be sure that I would personallyn’t do just about anything…” Taati, 26 yrs old, Windhoek

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