Interview with Kimberley, 23, Northern European, working class. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, Manchester, 1989. Anonymised version (Ref: ALS20)

2020-03-04T11:08:17Z (GMT) by Rachel Thomson
This interview is part of the Women, Risk and Aids Project (1989-90) archive which was created as part of the Reanimating Data Project (2018-20).

Anonymised transcript of an interview with Kimberley, 23, who is studying Sociology, Biology and Psychology at college, and would like to continue her studies in Sociology or Religious Studies at a polytechnic university. She had previously trained as a nurse in South East London, but returned to Manchester two years ago, and had been receiving social welfare benefits before this. She moved out of her inner city family home at age sixteen, due to her mother's poor mental health and neglect, and now lives in a shared house with friends. Kimberley is single at the moment, but has had casual relationships in the past. Her first steady relationship (3 months) was with a 30 year old male when she was 16, who had been in and out of prison and provided a 'dangerous' lifestyle, as well as a father figure, that Kimberley had found appealing at the time. She had first sexual intercourse with this man, and found it physically painful and generally underwhelming - not as romantic as she had envisioned. She has had other, casual sexual relationships and one-night stands that she has physically enjoyed. Contraception-wise, Kimberley has used condoms and the withdrawal method. The pill has to many health implications. She would feel too embarrassed to buy her own condoms, but feels confident asking sexual partners to use one. She doesn't want a relationship at the moment, but feels there is societal pressure and stigma around this for women. Her junior school provided Sex Education around puberty (bodily changes), conception and child birth in her fourth year, and her secondary school offered a 'technical' account of periods. Most of the useful information she gained was through friends and women's magazines, like Jackie. She is very knowledgeable about AIDS, again largely through magazines and pamphlets, and judges those to be most at risk by their sexual behaviours. She considers herself as at risk only through her alcohol consumption habits. Her working-class family do not offer much in the way of aspiration or ambition, and her mother's poor mental health as she was growing up led to her leaving home at 16, staying in foster care and in a hostel, but does not feel social services were much help as she was considered an adult. It was around this time that she began to rebel and get in trouble with the police, but Kimberley feels she has developed a much more positive attitude now.