My first experience with HIV was when i was in a long term relationship with a man who was a drug addict. While he didnt inject drugs, HIV and other STIs were constantly on my mind. When i asked to be tested for HIV as a precaution my doctor was surprised and asked why i wanted to be tested because ‘no risk events’ had occurred. Now after coming (its been 2 years) Its not been on my mind as much but i do notice that most of the awareness campaigns for HIV testing are aimed at men, and gay men at that. The one time i’ve seen a woman in a campaign, it was implied that the woman was in a heterosexual relationship. I dont see lesbians in HIV awareness campaigns and i feel like maybe this contributes to the idea that lesbians ‘can’t get HIV’. There are too many groups of people who ‘can’t get HIV’, straight women, non injecting drug users, children, straight men, the list goes on. Sometimes i feel silly when i insist on my yearly HIV test because even as a lesbian i’m still regarding as a person that ‘can’t’ get HIV even though we all know diseases don’t discriminate.

– Lillian