Alison Bechdel, Illustration for Cindy Patton and Janis Kelly’s Making It: A Woman’s Guide to Safe Sex in the Age of AIDS, 1997

Many lesbians have the misperception that AIDS is not their problem. Wrong — and dangerous! There are a number of reported cases of AIDS among lesbians; two of these are believed to be from woman-to-woman transmission. Since researchers still do not include questions to identify infected lesbians or cases of woman-to-woman transmission, statistics are often difficult to obtain. Most of the lesbians who have AIDS seem to have contracted it through IV drug use. Some have had unsafe sex with high-risk men.
Because lesbians tend to assume they are at low risk for HIV infection, self-definition is often confusing. Some lesbians consider any woman who sleeps with men to be bisexual. Other lesbians who occasionally sleep with men do not consider themselves to be bisexual. It is important to remember that risk comes from what you do, not how you label yourself… . Lesbians and bisexual women need to learn to talk about their sex lives, past and present, and negotiate safer sex.

Cindy Patton and Janis Kelly, Making It: A Woman’s Guide to Safe Sex in the Age of AIDS (1997), 15. 

Alison Bechdel, Illustration for Cindy Patton and Janis Kelly’s Making It: A Woman’s Guide to Safe Sex in the Age of AIDS, 1997

Many lesbians have the misperception that AIDS is not their problem. Wrong — and dangerous! There are a number of reported cases of AIDS among lesbians; two of these are believed to be from woman-to-woman transmission. Since researchers still do not include questions to identify infected lesbians or cases of woman-to-woman transmission, statistics are often difficult to obtain. Most of the lesbians who have AIDS seem to have contracted it through IV drug use. Some have had unsafe sex with high-risk men.

Because lesbians tend to assume they are at low risk for HIV infection, self-definition is often confusing. Some lesbians consider any woman who sleeps with men to be bisexual. Other lesbians who occasionally sleep with men do not consider themselves to be bisexual. It is important to remember that risk comes from what you do, not how you label yourself… . Lesbians and bisexual women need to learn to talk about their sex lives, past and present, and negotiate safer sex.

Cindy Patton and Janis Kelly, Making It: A Woman’s Guide to Safe Sex in the Age of AIDS (1997), 15. 

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