Adolescent and young adult couples’ views of intravaginal practices: A qualitative analysis of a pilot study

Imelda K. Moise, Evan De Joya, Benjamin Caplan, Violeta J. Rodriguez, Stefani Butts, Maureen Chisembele, Stephen M. Weiss, Deborah L. Jones, Maria Alcaide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: In this study, we evaluated the risk behaviors that are drivers of the HIV epidemic among adolescent girls and young women in Zambia using a focus group research technique. Subjects and methods: Eighteen adolescent couples (n=18 females and 18 males) aged 16-24 participated in six focus groups discussions (3 per gender) convened at three health facilities in Lusaka, Zambia. Focus group moderators utilized a set of open-ended questions to guide the 60-minute sessions. The focus group audio recordings were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis in Nvivo 11. Results: Three themes and four subthemes were identified relating to adolescent and young adult couples’ knowledge, views, and male partner attitudes toward intravaginal practices (IVPs). The first theme, knowledge and rationale for IVPs, consisted of the subthemes relating to why adolescents and young adult couples engage in IVPs and assessed their knowledge of health risks associated with IVPs. The second theme, attitudes toward IVPs, consisted of the subtheme willingness to stop or support partner to discontinue IVP and practices toward IVP and strategies for changing. The third theme, strategies for changing IVPs, consisted of the subtheme raise awareness. Conclusion: IVPs used for cleaning purposes were perceived as essential to enhancing hygiene, health, and sexual satisfaction for both girls and boys. However, couples expressed concern about the health effects of IVPs used for tightening and a desire for learning more about this practice as well as stopping it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Health
StatePublished - 2019


  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Focus groups
  • HIV
  • Sexually transmitted infection
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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