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Abstract

In South Africa, as in many parts of the world, lesbian women are still perceived to be immune from the risk of contracting HIV as compared to heterosexual women. However, the South African media has been inundated with reports on the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrated against lesbian women and their consequent risk of acquiring HIV as a result of being raped (or gang raped). As a result of this situation, this study was conducted in March to July 2015 to explore and describe the experiences of young lesbian women regarding their susceptibility to GBV and HIV in a rural community in South Africa. The aim was to gain a better understanding of the dynamics involved in the relationship between GBV and HIV among these young women in order to inform policy and practice in the development of interventions. A phenomenological research design was adopted in this study. The findings of the study revealed that there were direct and indirect forms of GBV that exacerbated the susceptibility of these young lesbian women to the risk of contracting HIV. The study concluded that there was a need to implement community solidarity and social cohesion activities among members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in order to combat GBV and HIV in the communities that they live in.

Note on the Author

Johannes N. Mampane, PhD, is an Academic and a Researcher at the University of South Africa. His research interests lie in the fields of Gender, Health and Sexuality. He advocates for social justice, inclusivity, equality and diversity issues concerning marginalized, disenfranchised and minority populations in society.

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