DATING AND SEXUAL CHALLENGES FACED BY HIV-POSITIVE PEOPLE IN KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA
AbstractAccording to the 2010 UNAIDS Report, an estimated 320 000 (or 20%) fewer people died of AIDS-related causes in 2009 when compared to figures in 2004 in sub-Saharan Africa, when antiretroviral therapy was markedly expanded (UNAIDS, 2010). This decreased mortality rate offers hope for HIV-infected people to plan a future, part of which will include dating and sexual relationships. The Report cites KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa as being at the heart of the HIV/AIDS epidemic; this article is based on research on dating and sexuality among HIV-positive people in KwaZulu-Natal.Dating and sexuality are an integral part of living. Yet HIV-positive persons are denied intimacy at a time when this is most needed (Kasiram in Kasiram, Partab & Dano, 2006). Little is known about the full range of sexual adaptations that HIV-infected individuals choose (Schiltz & Sandfort, 2000). Kasiram, Partab, Dano and Van Greunen (2003:9) cite interaction and intimacy among HIV-positive persons as a neglected research focus, while Painter (2001) adds that insufficient attention is afforded to couple relationships for infected people.An important reason that motivated this study on dating and sexual challenges faced by HIV-positive people was the first author’s (the main researcher’s) personal experience of being HIV positive and counselling and life coaching HIV-positive people. She is confronted regularly with variations of the question “Will I be normal?”, which often translates to: “Will I be able to date and have sex
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