Objectives To explore pregnant women’s acceptance of microbicides for reproductive tract infections (RTIs).
Methods To date, we have analysed interview transcripts of 15 women in their third trimester who participated in a qualitative study on microbicide acceptability for treatment and prevention of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and role of partners in decision-making regarding product use. Interviews were coded for relevant themes. Women (mean age = 25.5; range = 21–30) were recruited from a clinic serving an inner-city minority population.
Results While few women reported BV history, most did not spontaneously provide specific BV knowledge. Most participants strongly endorsed treatment of any infection during pregnancy, however, responses to prevention ranged from ambivalence to strong support. Many women would make a decision based on perception of risk/benefit to the baby. Other themes included: (1) side effects; (2) effectiveness; (3) perceived personal risk for RTI; (4) general investment in personal health. Some women seemed to have difficulty understanding prevention, and many felt greater clarity about microbicide use for treatment. Many viewed barriers (i.e., leakage, remembering, inserting) as easy to manage since they already used panty-liners, thought product use could be incorporated into daily routines and thought partners could help. Treating an active infection trumped barriers; this was less clear for prevention use. The decision regarding product use was viewed as belonging to the woman; partners were perceived as supporting what is best for the baby.
Conclusions Women in a NYC pre-natal clinic enthusiastically support the use of microbicides for RTIs. In order for this enthusiasm to lead to adoption, women need to be well-informed about the RTI, its consequences and risk/benefit of use. As barriers are likely to be greater in the absence of a current infection, a greater understanding and emphasis of the need versus the risk will be required for prevention use.
- bacterial vaginosis
- Reproductive Tract Infections