“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 exposure to medical transmissions or inserting medication usage (we would not ask if individuals had been created with HIV or other possible risks of transmission). Although hard for them all to know, the only real possible route of transmission and dangerous behavior they could report ended up being intercourse along with other females. All individuals additionally claimed which they had been shocked to discover they was in fact contaminated with HIV and might maybe not know how it had occurred. That they had all believed that they were safe because they had only been with women:
“…i really couldn’t know how it simply 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 possibly couldn’t comprehend… I really couldn’t realize. I really couldn’t know how I really could have contracted the herpes virus once I had thought I happened to be 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 just how it will be possible. Other females understand from their partners during penetrative sexual activity then again as a female that is a lesbian whom additionally sleeps along with other ladies – it is extremely confusing. Which they obtain it” Lebo, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
The individuals’ confusion and disbelief is obvious through the above examples. When you look at the quote that is first Zanele repeats exactly exactly how she “couldn’t understand” being HIV infected. This feeling of confusion and very nearly perhaps maybe perhaps not believing this one is HIV good was a theme that is recurring the five individuals who reported exclusive sexual associates with feamales in their life time. It stays not clear for all of them just 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 merely are individuals not able to comprehend feasible illness on their own, they simultaneously battle to respond to constant concerns from other people exactly how they may be contaminated:
“People think you got HIV that you have slept with a man and that’s how. It will make my entire life much much harder because as a lesbian woman 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’m a lesbian and once they see…my partner is sexier girl a female. Then, `how did I become HIV good whenever I have always been an individual who really loves other women? ‘ they ask. Some also get in terms of saying it isn’t astonishing I have you ever heard that a woman and another woman could be included? That i’ve HIV – where have actually” Gugu, 30 yrs old, Durban
Its obvious through the above quotes that their HIV good status produces different problems when you look at the life among these ladies. The demand that is constant 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 if they had disclosed their status to anybody apart from the interviewer. Reactions suggest that pretty much all individuals had disclosed to a partner, some relatives and friends that are few. Nonetheless, a couple of individuals had only disclosed to a single or two other people. Some had disclosed to family unit members, buddies and in addition publicly. On the list of individuals had been a couple of AIDS activists have been understood inside their communities to be living freely with HIV. For anyone individuals that has disclosed to loved ones and buddies, disclosure had been couched into the language of protection – i.e. Protecting yourself and another from feasible illness:
“As I would like to safeguard the second individual, we nevertheless need to perform some exact same for myself. I might in contrast to to have re-infected…As very long while you carry on having unsafe sex, you can easily still get re-infected. ” Zintle, 22 yrs old, Pretoria
“My mom as well understands (about my HIV status) because if we collapse in front of her she have to know that she must utilize 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 disclosure that is such protecting someone and ensuring she will not get diseased:
“Most of this lovers that I became dating – a lot of them are in reality HIV negative and we just be sure that they’ll constantly stay HIV negative. I would personallyn’t risk their life and We just be sure that I mightn’t do just about anything…” Taati, 26 yrs old, Windhoek