SOUTH AFRICA: Beverley Palesa Ditsie, "It's the most unsexy thing"
'There's been so many times that we [lesbians] have been told that we're not at risk'
JOHANNESBURG, 14 July 2009 (IRIN) - Figuring out safe sex is hard enough, but if you are a woman who has sex with other women, no one is saying much about the methods available for preventing sexually transmitted infections. South African film director Beverley Palesa Ditsie spoke to IRIN/PlusNews about why she started using protection with her partners, and why more research on the risk of female-to-female HIV transmission is necessary.
"I had a girlfriend who was working for a non-governmental organization in the [United] States at the time, and she refused to do anything without protection.
"I didn't have anything in my house ... It's the most unsexy thing, but we had to go and get dental dams and gloves – then we got down - but it put me off, I'll be honest.
"It was a wake-up call. I thought, 'There's been so many times that we [lesbians] have been told that we're not at risk'. I thought, 'Why should I use protection?' Then I thought, 'I'm thinking the same thing as half the population'.
"But until there's research done about [our] risk of HIV transmission and how to prevent it, how are we going to know how to protect ourselves?"
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]