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Acceptability of an intravaginal ring for simultaneously preventing HIV infection and pregnancy: Qualitative findings of the Kisumu Combined Ring Study, 2019

Multipurpose prevention technology intravaginal rings (MPT IVRs) may offer a promising solution for addressing women’s multiple sexual and reproductive health needs. We describe MPT IVR acceptability perspectives and examine user experiences of 25 cisgender women aged 18–34 years enrolled in a phase IIa randomized, partially blinded, placebo-controlled evaluation of tenofovir-based IVRs with and without contraceptive co-formulation. All took part in an individual, audio-recorded, semi-structured qualitative interview. A thematic analysis of transcribed interviews was completed in MaxQDA. Participants shared little to no knowledge of or experience with IVRs prior to joining the study. Four MPT IVR themes were identified: physical well-being, method reliability, personal management, and societal endorsement. Commonly cited of concern, but less described as being experienced, were physical discomforts (e.g., painful insertion/removal; inability to carry out daily activities/chores; foreign body sensation; expulsion; sexual interference, or debilitating side effects). Uncertainty regarding efficacy influenced perspectives about intended prevention benefits. Personal choices in managing reproduction and sexual behaviors had to be congruent with sociocultural values and norms for acceptance beyond the individual user level. Participants viewed broader community acceptance as likely to be mixed given community opposition to the use of modern family planning methods. They also shared concerns that IVR use could lead to infertility, especially among nulliparous women, or that it would encourage premarital sex or high-risk sexual behaviors among adolescent and young women. While a MPT IVR may not be suitable for all women, first-hand testimonials could help influence collective receptivity. Additional community acceptability research is needed. Clinical Trial Registration

The study is registered at http://ClinicalTrials.gov under the identifier NCT03762382.

November 2022

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Database
Journal Article
Journal Article
MPT Articles
MPT Article
Resource

Citation:

Multipurpose prevention technology intravaginal rings (MPT IVRs) may offer a promising solution for addressing women’s multiple sexual and reproductive health needs. We describe MPT IVR acceptability perspectives and examine user experiences of 25 cisgender women aged 18–34 years enrolled in a phase IIa randomized, partially blinded, placebo-controlled evaluation of tenofovir-based IVRs with and without contraceptive co-formulation. All took part in an individual, audio-recorded, semi-structured qualitative interview. A thematic analysis of transcribed interviews was completed in MaxQDA. Participants shared little to no knowledge of or experience with IVRs prior to joining the study. Four MPT IVR themes were identified: physical well-being, method reliability, personal management, and societal endorsement. Commonly cited of concern, but less described as being experienced, were physical discomforts (e.g., painful insertion/removal; inability to carry out daily activities/chores; foreign body sensation; expulsion; sexual interference, or debilitating side effects). Uncertainty regarding efficacy influenced perspectives about intended prevention benefits. Personal choices in managing reproduction and sexual behaviors had to be congruent with sociocultural values and norms for acceptance beyond the individual user level. Participants viewed broader community acceptance as likely to be mixed given community opposition to the use of modern family planning methods. They also shared concerns that IVR use could lead to infertility, especially among nulliparous women, or that it would encourage premarital sex or high-risk sexual behaviors among adolescent and young women. While a MPT IVR may not be suitable for all women, first-hand testimonials could help influence collective receptivity. Additional community acceptability research is needed.

Clinical Trial Registration The study is registered at http://ClinicalTrials.gov under the identifier NCT03762382.

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Authors: McLellan-Lemal, E., Deaton, S.R., Betts, J.E., Ondenge, K., Mudhune, V., O'Connor, S.M., Nyagol, B., Thurman, A.R., Doncel, G.F., Allen, S.A. and Heffron, R.

Health Risks(s):

  • General SRH

Product type(s):

  • IVR
  • MPTs

Topic(s):

  • MPTs
  • Development
  • Trials
  • Social

Region(s)

  • Africa

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