Interview with Tiffany, 20 - 21, White British, lower middle class. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, Manchester, 1989. Original version (Ref: MAG09)

2020-03-04T11:07:02Z (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).

Original transcript of an interview with Tiffany, who had trained as a hairdresser but didn't enjoy it very much - she is now in dental nursing instead. She had been engaged to her Catholic partner of five years, but realised she wasn't happy in the relationship and had been too young to settle down. She has quite a cynical attitude towards marriage, as she has seen a lot of divorce while growing up. Tiffany is now in a relationship with Ryan, which had started out as a casual, 'no-strings attached' affair, but is now becoming quite serious. The formal sex education she received at school, in biology, only covered conception and early child development, and was not taken seriously. She mainly sought information through friends and the youth club. She feels that if sex education had been taken more seriously at school, been offered younger and the risks involved through sex properly explained, that young people would not engage in precocious sexual activity. None of her friends had used condoms or other contraceptions when they were younger. She would like to think that she would use condoms if she were to have casual sexual relationships or one-night stands in the future, but would find it embarrassing and thinks condoms would 'ruin the moment'. Her (male) friends are not too bothered about contracting AIDS, despite having many sexual partners, but Tifffany is cautious as she has learnt about AIDS transmission through her work as a dental nurse. She feels women are typically more concerned than men, as they tend to be responsible for protecting themselves against unwanted pregnancies. There is a wider discourse among her peers that they are unlikely to contract AIDS, that it 'wouldn't happen to them', and they do not position themselves as at risk. She thought public campaigning around AIDS through advertisements was effective, but needs to be more consistent and should be taught properly through sex education in schools. The leaflets she has seen about AIDS do not do enough to convey the risks and volume of the disease, and should be more realistic rather than fear-mongering. She hopes attitudes towards sex will change and people will be more cautious in casual sexual encounters, and especially hopes that men will take more responsibility.