HIV and ME: African LGBTI Women speak on HIV/Aids – Pt II

A moment ago we put out a call to start a conversation about how Afro-Queer Women understand, experience and deal with HIV/Aids.  Below are the second round of thoughts from African LGBTQI women. All responses were submitted anonymously through the HOLAA HIV/Aids submission form.

We hope that by reading some of these responses you too will be encouraged to keep talking to us about HIV/ Aids and help dissolve some of the myths and stigmas that force people into silence

For Part I click here.

  • “As queer women, so many of us view the issue at a distance. We believe that because our sexual encounters do not fit the conventional penis into vagina norm, we must be in the clear. So many times, the discussion of testing in a new relationship doesn’t even come up. The possibility of meeting a ‘healthy looking’ infected lady isn’t considered.”
  • “I met a 24 year old lesbian, a beauty she was. Nothing about her screamed HIV+. In all honesty, when she told me she was infected, had been living with the virus for over 5 years, I was floored. I went from disappointment (which means in my mind, I had already decided that dating her was out of the question), to shock (but how? she’s so pretty) and then that was followed by acknowledging the fact that she had told me not because she wanted me to throw her a pity party but because she wanted me to SEE HER, all of her.”
  • “HIV positive or negative, all queer women just want to be seen for every aspect of their being. Their health status is merely a small part of the entire picture.
  • “I saw her. I fell in love with all of her and to this very day, when I think HIV, the picture that comes to mind has nothing to do with sterilized hospice wards or pain-stricken, skeleton-like beings. It’s a picture of life, just by different terms.”
  • “Safe sex is of utmost importance to me. I regularly get tested and make sure that whoever I’m having sex with is tested as well.”
  • I always thought we were the low risk especially me I’m butch never been with a guy but dated bisexual women I guess that’s how I got infected but I accepted it and changed my lifestyle to be healthy I’m not on highly active antiretroviral therapy  yet because my CD4 is still high… I’m happy that I found out about it in it’s early stages… Life goes on… Practice safe sex to be safe.

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  • “Mom died from an HIV infection, l have just grown up to be paranoid about safe sex, Better safe than sorry.”
  • “I have had much AIDS in my life, not having it myself but my family and a few friends. Here [in the United States] the CDC, explicitly says they do not have any documented cases of female to female AIDS passing…I think we are all under the assumption that is a date with chance in whether we contract it or not…I know personally this isn’t true. It may be contracted by IV drug users or homosexual men, or bad blood…However it is contracted the message needs to be that we all are responsible for the transmission of HIV/ AIDS. Whether through education and information or just practicing safe sex…”
  • “Getting STIs in a gay community really does exist”
  • “My partner’s mother has been diagnosed with full blown aids, her father died of it. I am scared that she may have it but I don’t know how to ask.”

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  • It is so unfortunate most women in the LGBTI community find it so hard to accept they are HIV+ or have STIs hence making it hard to get proper medication. We don’t stop being lesbians just because we are faced with some kind of situation. It is very sad how lesbians contract these kinds of diseases and yes there is a lot of discrimination for people living with HIV or STIs trust me if only everybody can make it a habit of visiting a doctor on a yearly basis and the VCT clinic occasionally. Knowing once status is very important. Me and my partner always go to VCT every after three months and this has helped a lot as I have become her best friend and alarm at the same time
  • HIV doesn’t happen in isolation. If we don’t all work together to raise awareness and prevent HIV transmission then we are doing a disservice to humanity. Even if you aren’t at high risk of being infected yourself, there are people who you care about who could be. HIV is a chronic burden that no one need fight alone. If we don’t speak up we let good people fall victim to stigma, misconceptions and prejudice in their time of need.
  • People put themselves at great risk when all they worry about is pregnancy. I don’t know if they just don’t want to admit that they could be at risk, or that are trying to find excuses to not use protection, but it happens all too often. This applies to sexual partners of all sexual orientations.
  • We should all be open minded and share our safe sex tips! It’s not like what we do is so totally different from what people of other sexual orientations do. On the HOLAA webpage I saw advice that I’m going to tell my straight guy friend for when he gets rimmed by his girlfriend. Share the knowledge – safe sex is hot sex!

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Thank you to each and every person who has shared their thoughts and experiences with us. To share your story with HOLAA! anonymously please click here. 

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