“It’s very puzzling… we was thinking we lesbians are safe”
Perhaps infected them. All those 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 any other possible dangers of transmission). Although burdensome for them all to know, truly the only possible path of transmission and high-risk behavior they could report ended up being sex 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 simply because they had just been with ladies, these were safe:
“…i really 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 comprehend. I possibly couldn’t know how I really could have contracted herpes whenever I had thought I became safe in means! ” Zanele, 31 yrs old, Durban
“It’s how you get badly infected as a lesbian as it’s actually confusing exactly just exactly how you are able. Other ladies know from their lovers during penetrative sexual activity then again as a lady that is a lesbian whom additionally sleeps along with other females – it is extremely confusing. Which they obtain it” Lebo, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
The participants’ confusion and disbelief is obvious through the examples that are above. When you look at the very first estimate, Zanele repeats exactly just just how she “couldn’t understand” being HIV infected. This feeling of confusion and nearly maybe maybe not believing that certain is HIV good ended up being a theme that is recurring the five individuals whom reported exclusive intimate associates with ladies in their life time. It stays ambiguous for several of these exactly exactly how transmission that is possible 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 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 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 regarding the very fact that i will be a lesbian and when they see…my partner is a lady. Then, `how did I be HIV good whenever I have always been an individual who really loves other ladies? ‘ they ask. Some also go so far as saying it isn’t astonishing I have you ever heard that a woman and another girl 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 good status produces different problems into the everyday lives among these ladies. The constant need to explain a person’s status to others implies that you may still find misconceptions about HIV transmission along with lack of knowledge about same-sex relations.
Choosing to reveal
Individuals had been additionally expected when they had disclosed their status to anybody apart from the interviewer. Reactions suggest that the majority of individuals had disclosed up to somebody, some family unit members and friends that are few. Nonetheless, a couple of individuals had just disclosed to 1 or two other people. Some had disclosed to nearest and dearest, buddies as well as publicly. On the list of participants had been a few AIDS activists who had been understood within their communities to openly be living with HIV. For those of you individuals that has disclosed to members of the family and buddies, disclosure ended up being couched within the language of protection – i.e. Protecting yourself and another from feasible illness:
“As i’d like to safeguard the following individual, we nevertheless need to perform some exact same for myself. I might in contrast to to obtain re-infected…As very very very long you can nevertheless get re-infected. As you continue having non-safe sex, ” 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 make use of gloves to greatly help so she defintely won’t be contaminated” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban
While individuals may shy far from disclosing into the average man or woman, all reported the need and significance of disclosing to intimate lovers. Central to such disclosure is protecting somebody and ensuring she will not get badly infected:
“Most of this partners that I happened to be dating – a lot of them are now HIV negative and we just be sure that they’ll constantly stay HIV negative. I’dn’t risk their everyday lives and We just be sure that I would personallyn’t do just about anything…” Taati, 26 yrs old, Windhoek