Interventions aimed at reducing sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus/sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/STDs) have focused primarily on male condom use among seronegative men and women. However, female-controlled sexual barriers (female condoms and vaginal microbicides) offer women living with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) alternative methods to protect themselves and others from disease transmission. A pilot behavioral intervention was conducted to increase sexual barrier use and enhance and assess factors related to acceptability. Participants (N = 178) were drawn from the Stress Management and Relaxation Training with Expressive Supportive Therapy (SMART/EST) Women's Project, a multisite phase III clinical trial for women living with AIDS (Miami, FL; New York City, NY; Newark, NJ). Intervention participants (n = 89) were matched for age and ethnicity with control condition participants (n = 89). Women were African American (52%), Haitian (15%), Hispanic (19%), Caucasian (10%), and other ethnicities (4%). The intervention condition received barrier products (male and female condoms and spermicides based on nonoxynol-9 in the form of vaginal gel, film, and suppositories) during three sessions held over 3 months. Data on barrier use and acceptability were analyzed at baseline and 3 and 9 months postintervention. Use of N-9 spermicides on a trial basis increased significantly by 3 months in the intervention conditions (22%-51%, P < .05). Cultural differences in acceptability were greatest between Haitian women and women in other ethnic groups. Exposure to this pilot behavioral intervention was associated with increased acceptability and use of chemical barriers without decreased use of male condoms.
- Sexual barriers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health