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HSRC Press :: From Social Silence to Social Science

From Social Silence to Social Science
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From Social Silence to Social Science

Same-sex sexuality, HIV & AIDS and Gender in South Africa

Vasu Reddy, Theo Sandfort & Laetitia Rispel (eds)

Format168mm x 240mm (Soft Cover)
ISBN 100-7969-2276-4
ISBN 13978-07969-2276-2
Publish Year2009
RightsWorld Rights
DescriptionRelated ProductsEmail To A FriendProduct RatingCustomer Reviews

From Social Silence to Social Science :: Same-sex sexuality, HIV & AIDS and Gender in South AfricaFree DownloadFrom Social Silence to Social Science :: Same-sex sexuality, HIV & AIDS and Gender in South Africa
PodcastThere are large gaps and silences in academic literature, public understanding, and health promotion strategies when it comes to addressing the needs of South Africans who are involved in same-sex relationships. Award-winning political journalist Christi van der Westhuizen chaired a panel at the Cape Town Book Fair 2009 of contributors to this HSRC Press publication. Here she introduces some of the issues tackled in the book and its co-editor, Professor Vasu Reddy.

Duration: 4 min 53 sec


This book presents a unique and innovative effort to examine what we know about homosexual transmission of HIV and AIDS in South Africa. It reverses the trend whereby categories of same sex sexual practice are almost always excluded from research of HIV and AIDS, as well as from care and intervention programmes. The varied contributors (academics, activists and programme planners) draw attention to the risk behaviours and treatment needs of people who engage in homosexual sex, and explain why same-sex sexuality has to be seen as key within South African efforts to study, test and prevent HIV infection. Relevant to scholarly debates about HIV and AIDS, it is also essential reading for anyone involved in research, policymaking, advocacy and community development.


Foreword by Edwin Cameron
Messages of support

Vasu Reddy, Theo Sandfort, Laetitia Rispel

Theory, methodology, context
1 Researching same-sex sexuality and HIV
Peter Aggleton
2 Sexuality research in South Africa: The policy context
Robert Sember
3 Same-sex sexuality and health: Current psychosocial scientific research in South Africa
Juan Nel
4 Homosexual and bisexual labels: The need for clear conceptualisations, operationalisations and appropriate methodological designs
Theo Sandfort and Brian Dodge
5 Gender, same-sex sexuality and HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Practical research challenges and solutions
Pierre Brouard
6 From social silence to social science: HIV research among township MSM in South Africa
Tim Lane

History, memory, archive
7 Gay AIDS activism in South Africa prior to 1994
Mandisa Mbali
8 Sexing women: Young black lesbian women’s reflections on sex and responses to safe(r) sex in Johannesburg
Zethu Matebeni
9 Creating memory: Documenting and disseminating life stories of LGBTI people living with HIV
Ruth Morgan, Busi Kheswa, John Meletse

Perspectives from sub-Saharan and southern Africa 10 What we know about same-sex practicing people and HIV in Africa
Cary Alan Johnson
11 Same-sex sexuality and HIV/AIDS: A perspective from Malawi
Daveson Nyadani
12 A bird’s eye view of HIV and gay and lesbian issues in Zimbabwe
Sammy Matsikure
13 Epidemiological disjunctures: A review of same-sex sexuality and HIV research in sub-Saharan Africa
Kirk Fiereck

Needs, programming, policy and direction for future research
14 Mobilising gay and lesbian organisations to respond to the political challenges of the South African HIV epidemic
Nathan Geffen, Zethu Cakata, Renay Pillay and Paymon Ebrahimzadeh
15 Are South African HIV policies and programmes meeting the needs of samesex practising individuals?
Laetitia Rispel and Carol Metcalf
16 Lessons learned from current South African HIV/AIDS research among lesbian/gay/bisexual populations
Dawie Nel
17 Observations on HIV and AIDS in Cape Town’s LGBT population
Glenn de Swardt
18 Some personal and political perspectives on HIV/AIDS in Ethekwini
Nonhlanhla Mkhize
19 Health for all? Women who have sex with women (WSW) health needs and issues
Vicci Tallis

20 Taking research-based prevention forward
Theo Sandfort, Vasu Reddy, Laetitia Rispel


About the Author/s

Professor Vasu Reddy is a Chief Research Specialist at the Gender and Development Cross-cutting Research Unit within the Policy Analysis and Capacity Enhancement research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). He is also an Honorary Associate Professor of Gender Studies in the School of Anthropology, Gender & Historical Studies (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

Dr Theo Sandfort is Associate Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University and a Research Scientist at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University. He is on the editorial board on various major sexuality journals, including AIDS Care; Archives of Sexual Behavior; Culture, Health and Sexuality; Journal of Homosexuality; Sexualities and Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Dr Laetitia Rispel has been an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, since February 2008 and is the current President of the Public Health Association of South Africa. Prior to 2008, she was the Executive Director of the Human Sciences Research Council’s Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health (SAHA) research programme for two years.


“This book constitutes a rigorous and courageous move in twenty-first century knowledges of HIV, gender, sexuality, and social spaces within different African contexts. Presenting innovative theory and new research data, the diverse collection of writers argue for the need to include homosexuality within efforts to understanding and control the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. Such a call has nothing to do with re-stigmatization of homosexuality or with on-going political and cultural efforts to deny human rights to lesbian, gay, transgendered, and bi-sexual people; the writers are a feisty and diverse group of psychologists, social scientists, policy analysts and cultural critics who believe that it's time for all denials around the meaning and impact of HIV and AIDS to be confronted, explored, and addressed with clarity and vision.”

- Jane Bennett, Professor, African Gender Institute, University of Cape Town

“Historically, the persistent silence around sexual diversity in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa is one of the worst mistakes of the regional - and global response to the pandemic, as has recently been recognized. This pioneering book retrieves the thinking and experience of a number of respected scholars and activists who provide a broad perspective on the importance of sexual cultures and sexual diversity in any serious attempt to understand the South African HIV epidemic. They also emphasize the role of the social sciences in uncovering this particular kind of 'evidence', and discuss the implications of these extremely important insights for HIV prevention and care from a human rights perspective. Anybody genuinely interested in achieving universal access to HIV prevention and care in Africa, and in promoting the human rights of all, should read this book.”

- Carlos F. Caceres, MD, PhD, Professor of Public Health, Cayetano Heredia University, Lima (Peru); Chair of the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society. Editor of AIDS and sex between men in Latin America: Vulnerabilities, Strengths and Proposals for Action (Lima: UPCH/UNAIDS, 2003)

"This book is an important and timely contribution to debates about same-sex sexuality in the context of HIV and AIDS. There is a good balance between academic, community and activist perspectives that I am certain will contribute to broadening our knowledge of marginalised sexualities in the era of HIV and AIDS. The insights should also foster interventions for same-sex people and enable the promotion of justice, equality and dignity for LGBTi people."

- Phumi Mtetwa, Director, Lesbian & Gay Equality Project, South Africa

“From Social Silence to Social Science: Same-Sex Sexuality, HIV & AIDS and Gender in South Africa is a pioneering volume. Originating out of a groundbreaking conference that brought together researchers, activists and practitioners drawn from multiple sexual communities and cultures, this publication represents much more than simply a conference volume. It is a transformative intellectual event. It maps out the theoretical and methodological approaches that have been developed in this field or research, documents the histories of non-normative sexual communities, and provides an authoritative summary of what is known today about same-sex practicing peoples in sub-Saharan Africa generally and in South Africa in particular. Equally important, it unmasks the ways in which same-sex sexualities have been silenced in African HIV and AIDS epidemics, documenting the tragic consequences of this silence, and pointing the way forward toward finally addressing this tragedy in a meaningful way through innovative programs, committed policies, and engaged social science research. Nobody working on these issues will be able to think about them in the same ways that they used to after reading this volume – just as no one previously unconcerned about them can afford to ignore this work!”

"Overall this is an informative and critically important first text on the subject of same-sex sexuality and HIV and AIDS in South Africa. This book is a valuable addition to the critical literature on HIV and AIDS on the African continent."

- Dhee Naidoo in Sahara J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS. 7(2):85-86.

- Richard Parker, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Director of the Center for Gender, Sexuality and Health at Columbia University in New York City, Director and President of the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association (ABIA) in Rio de Janeiro, and Co-Chair of Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW)

Click on the link below to read the reviews:

From social silence to social science / Gay Pages 1 December 2009

Sahara Journal Book review - From Social Silence to Social Science - Same Sex Sexuality, HIVAIDS and Gender in South Africa



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