The invisible L word: the struggles to achieve SRHR, as HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for lesbian population

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Mbaama Millicent Marian, a Ghanaian who lives and schools medicine in Ukraine. She is currently in her 3rd year at Sumy State University.. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The sexual health of homosexual women today suffers from medical and social invisibility. Even the health of heterosexual women, has been subsumed throughout history, especially regarding sexual health, focusing only on reproduction.

When rates of HIV / AIDS infections were rising in the population, the erroneous conclusion that homosexual women would be immune to the virus was not only a step back in medical research, but also meant a setback with regard to the sexual health knowledge of women who have sex with other women. The idea of ​​non-contamination in the absence of penetration, comes from the assumption, sometimes wrong, of the identity statement and the particular sexual practices.

When we speak, specifically, about gynecology, the focus on the “lesbian body”, historically does not exist, mainly because of the fallacy, until recently accepted, that homosexuality would be a nymphomania or psychiatric disorder. As for the scientific production on sexual health of lesbian women, it is still scarce and ends up contributing to the group’s exposure to the contagion of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV / AIDS.

Not only does invisibility and historical fetishization permeate medical knowledge about sexual practices and the risks this population suffers, but it is currently possible to note the lack of technical and quality information, among medical students and doctors, in guiding safe sex practices and the prevention of ISTs contagion among LGBTQI +, especially on the lesbian population. Since the doctor himself is unable to provide satisfactory guidance, the patient ends up looking for alternative sources of knowledge, which are not always properly grounded.

This invisibility places sexually active homosexual women at risk of exposure, allied to the lack of medical knowledge, causes an inability to guide safe practices and answer simple questions, such as the probability of HIV contraction in sex between vulvas , or even how to do prevention in these cases. As well as it increases the struggle to achieve health based on full sexual and reproductive health rights.


ALMEIDA, G. S. de. Da invisibilidade à vulnerabilidade: percursos do “corpo lésbico” na cena brasileira face à possibilidade de infecção por DST e Aids. 2005, 344 p. Tese (Doutorado em Saúde Coletiva) – Instituto de Medicina Social, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2005.        

PARKER, Richard G.; AGGLETON, Peter. Estigma, discriminação e Aids. Rio de Janeiro. ABIA, 2001 (Coleção ABIA – Cidadania e Direitos, n. 1).    

VAL, Alexandre Costa et al .“Nunca Me Falaram sobre Isso!”: o Ensino das Sexualidades na Perspectiva de Estudantes de uma Escola Federal de Medicina. Rev. bras. educ. med.,  Brasília ,  v. 43, n. 1, supl. 1, p. 108-118,    2019.

MORETTI-PIRES, Rodrigo Otávio et al . Preconceito contra Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero entre Estudantes de Medicina de 1º ao 8º Semestre de um Curso da Região Sul do Brasil. Rev. bras. educ. med.,  Brasília ,  v. 43, n. 1, supl. 1, p. 557-567,    2019 .

About the author

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Beating cancer: MEPs react to the EU Plan for joint action

4 ways to build resilience to digital risks in the COVID-19 era

Colombia’s former president says COVID-19 shows the importance of listening to indigenous peoples on how we treat the planet

Internet milestone reached, as more than 50 per cent go online: UN telecoms agency

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

Ramp up nuclear power to beat climate change, says UN nuclear chief

The role of the cyber leader in building secure and resilient digital ecosystems

3 ways to keep ourselves cool more sustainably

Mirrored classroom display highlights scale of massive education crisis

Four lessons from Africa on building effective business ecosystems

Climate change will never be combatted by EU alone while some G20 countries keep procrastinating

Ocean life faces ‘onslaught of threats’ from human activity, but tools exist to save it

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

General Elections in Spain: Twitter organises the first digital debate to empower young people.

COVID-19 has laid bare the cracks in long-term care. Here’s how to fix them

From Policy to Reality: Discrepancies in Universal Health Care Systems across the European Union

As rural communities age, their public transport is shrinking. It’s time to fix this

Return of Kuwaiti property by Iraq, signals hope of ‘full normalization’ between nations: UN Chief

Busting the myths about coronavirus

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

UNICEF backpacks used as a haunting symbol to call for greater protection of children living in conflict

How tiny countries top social and economic league tables (and win at football, too)

Banking Union: Non-performing loans in the EU continue to decline

Robots and chatbots can help alleviate the mental health epidemic

How we can embrace the electrical vehicle transition by adopting smart charging

Is mental health really ‘health’?

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

The US + Britain trivialize mainland Europe, NATO and the EU

3 ways to nurture collaboration between universities and industry

The EU wants to create 10 million smart lampposts

Switzerland to introduce strict restrictions on executive pay

Far more needed to ‘confront the world’s climate emergency’, UN chief tells ASEAN Summit

Europe’s far-right launches attacks on neighboring nations

Syria: Urgent, concrete actions needed, to protect children too young to ‘make sense of this senseless war’

COVID-19 increased the use of AI. Here’s why it’s here to stay

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

IMF launches a new offensive against Germany

Integrating migrants and refugees into the labour market: Commission and social and economic partners relaunch cooperation

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

What is the biggest benefit technology will have on ageing and longevity?

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

How curiosity and globalization are driving a new approach to travel

At G20 Summit OECD’s Gurría says collective action vital to tackle global challenges

MWC 2016 Live: Industrial world prepares to reap digital benefits

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

Why small farms are key to the future of food – and how we can support them

Nicaragua ‘crisis’ still cause for concern amid murder, torture allegations: Bachelet

One life for another

Access and hesitancy as major challenges surrounding covid-19 vaccination campaigns

Zero carbon by 2050 is possible. Here is what we need to do

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

Three UN workers killed following Benghazi car bomb attack, as Security Council meets in emergency session, honours their ‘ultimate sacrifice’

Coronavirus: Commission proposes to provide €81.4 billion in financial support for 15 Member States under SURE

EU humanitarian budget for 2020 to help people in over 80 countries

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

“We need to accelerate our negotiation on the China-EU Investment Treaty”, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlights from the 21st EU-China summit in Brussels

COVID-19: How multilateral development banks can lead through a crisis

New UN book club helps children deal with global issues

Here’s how to find a job you really love

WHO launches COVID-19 health alert service with Facebook and WhatsApp – Updates from Friday’s WHO briefing

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s