A study of microbicide acceptability among high-risk African American, Puerto Rican, non-Hispanic White, and other women in Hartford, Connecticut indicated limited experience with vaginal contraceptives but significant interest in and willingness to adopt vaginal microbicides for HIV/STI prevention.
To measure microbicide acceptability among high-risk women in Hartford, Connecticut and contextual factors likely to affect acceptability and use.
To assess usefulness of microbicides for HIV/STI prevention for high-risk women.
Ethnographic interviews (n=75) and a survey (n=471) explored women’s perspectives on HIV/STI prevention, vaginal contraceptives similar to microbicides, and microbicide acceptability. Participants (n=94) in a two-week behavioral trial used an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer to simulate microbicide use during sex with primary, casual, and/or paying partners.
Findings showed limited experience with vaginal contraceptives, but high interest in microbicides as an alternative to condoms, indicated by an acceptability index score of 2.73 (SD .49, scale 1–4) in the overall sample. General microbicide acceptability varied by ethnicity, prior contraceptive and violence/abuse experiences, relationship power, and other attitudinal factors. The simulation trial indicated significant willingness to use the product in various locations and with all types of partners.
Vaginal microbicides may improve prevention outcomes for high-risk inner-city women.