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J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2003 Nov-Dec;14(6):48-55.

Perception of HIV and safer sexual behaviors among lesbians.

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AIDS Program, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT, USA.


There is little data on female-to-female transmission of HIV. Some women who have sex with women (WSW) have other high-risk behaviors that could lead to HIV infection. The belief that WSW are at no risk may lead to unsafe sexual practices. In this study, a convenience sample of 78 women was surveyed in order to explore the perception of HIV risk among lesbians, their sexual behaviors, and their sources of information about safer sex. Fifty-three percent reported they were at low risk for contracting HIV. Women reported knowledge of barrier methods (89% to 99%) and no sex during menstruation (92%). However, 35% to 40% reported no knowledge of less common safer sex practices. Women reported their source of knowledge as media (36%), workshops (22%), and friends (12%). Eighty-five percent stated that their health care provider knew they were lesbian, but only 15% reported receiving safer sex education. Nurses and nurse practitioners are aptly poised to provide critical HIV education and health care for this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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