07 March 2008

KZN has most HIV+ lesbians

KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of HIV-positive lesbian women, a study has found.

KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of HIV-positive lesbian women, a study has found.

Presenting preliminary findings at a lecture in Pretoria on Thursday, Theo Sandfort, from the University of Colombia, said that based on data gathered from 2003 to 2006, lesbian women in KwaZulu-Natal had the highest infection rate at eight percent.

He said that the findings of the study conducted with the help of five others, was important considering South Africa's history of the pandemic. "There is a lack of knowledge about homosexual transmission of HIV," he said.

How the study was done
A total of 161 lesbian women within the province had been sampled. He said the number of infections among women was likely due to the incidence of a woman being raped or a woman being a sex worker.

Two other provinces sampled, Gauteng and the Western Cape, had lower figures. This was based on a questionnaire handed to gay and lesbian people in all three provinces.

Lesbian women who indicated in their questionnaires that they had not tested for the virus were more likely to be younger, black, single and not sexually active.

With relation to gay men, the Western Cape had a higher prevalence of HIV-infections, at over 10 percent. Gauteng had the lowest number of infections (eight percent) among gay men.

The study found that gay men who tested positive were older and self employed. There was no difference in terms of levels of education, race and socio-economic status among gay and straight men. – (Sapa)

March 2008

Read more:
Why more HIV in gay men?
HIV crisis for male-male sex


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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