News & events


Women who have sex with women in Southern Africa: new findings from a 4 Country Study

11 March 2013
11:00 - 12:00

Date : 11 March 2013

Time : 10:45 – 12:30

Presenters :  Professor Theo Sandfort, HIV Centre for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, Columbia University (New York)
Dr Zethu Matebeni (University of Cape Town)
Linda Renate Baumann (Outright, Namibia)
Professor Vasu Reddy (HSRC)
Ian Southey-Swartz (Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa)
Nonhlanhla Mkhize  (Durban Lesbian and Gay Centre)

Despite the popular image of “invulnerability,” women who have sex with women (WSW) in southern Africa are living with, or are at risk of contracting HIV. This is according to a new study led by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa and Columbia University, along with partner organisations in four southern African countries (Botswana, South Africa, Zimbawe, Namibia).

The findings suggest that WSW need to be tested for HIV and other STIs, and public health authorities need to undertake significant HIV outreach, support and education to lesbians and other women who have sex with women. This participatory research project conducted in 2010, explored HIV risk, infection rates and vulnerability among WSW in four high HIV-prevalence southern African countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Working through community organisations, a total of 591 women (18 years and older) were recruited to participate in the study. All participants had sex with a woman in the preceding year, most identified themselves as lesbian, and a large majority described themselves as black.  This seminar will report on the study, its research processes and key findings, highlighting its impact and the need for important public health interventions.

Kindly RSVP by 8 March 2013

Venues in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town (Videoconferencing facilities: see below)

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or

Durban :  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: