OBJECTIVES AND GOAL: This study assessed the acceptability after the use of vaginal lubricants as surrogates for microbicides among women in Zambia and the role of cultural factors as facilitators or impediments to their potential use for HIV risk reduction within the Zambian context. STUDY DESIGN: HIV seronegative women (N = 301) recruited from the University Teaching Hospital HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center were randomized into group, individual, or enhanced usual care arms. Participants attended pre- and post-HIV test counseling, followed by a 3-session, 2-hour once-a-month intervention introducing them to vaginal lubricants (2 types of gels, suppositories) in addition to male and female condoms. Supplies were offered at months 4 and 5; assessments were at baseline, 6, and 12 months. RESULTS: At baseline, the majority of women reported minimal previous exposure to vaginal products and low levels of condom use. Participants' use of products was influenced by product characteristics and perceived partner acceptability; the majority of participants preferred drier products and suppository delivery systems. The basis for decisions regarding vaginal product acceptability changed over time and followed product exposure, and was greatly influenced by perceptions of partner acceptability. CONCLUSION: Results illustrate the influence of male partners on Zambian seronegative women's preferences for microbicidal products, and the change in preferred characteristics over time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases