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BuzzFeed Examines HIV Among Women Who Have Sex With Women In South Africa

BuzzFeed examines the issue of HIV among women who have sex with women in South Africa, highlighting a recent study that found “around 10 percent of women who have sex with women in four Southern Africa countries are HIV-positive.” According to BuzzFeed, “The study suggests that the main source of infection among lesbians is likely rape. Women are sexually assaulted in South Africa more often than almost anywhere in the world, and lesbians are often targeted out of the belief that it will ‘cure’ them of same-sex attraction. And their trauma is often compounded when they seek help from police or health care workers after they’ve been attacked, keeping them from getting tested or treated for HIV.” Despite this, when a lesbian is diagnosed with HIV, it “raises suspicion among lesbians that a woman has betrayed the community by choosing to have sex with men. And this can cause the support network women have struggled to build to evaporate,” the news service writes. “These women regularly are burying women who have lost their lives in homophobic assaults and fighting an incredibly difficult campaign to try to get authorities to take the threat of hate crimes seriously. They are burying still more whose lives are cut short by HIV. At the same time, though, many of those HIV-related deaths seem to result from the stigma that remains unconfronted within their own community,” BuzzFeed states. The article includes comments from several members of the LGBT advocacy community in South Africa (Feder, 7/16).