Introduction Bacterial vaginosis (BV) during pregnancy is linked to preterm labour and infant morbidities. Microbicides are in development for BV management, which could benefit pregnant women.
Methods Pregnant women in the US (n=760) completed an online survey of attitudes about hypothetical microbicide use for BV. Conjoint analysis measured attitudes across the following dimensions: reason for microbicide use (prevention, prevention when at high risk, or treatment), product formulation (ring or gel), father of the baby’s (FOB) attitudes (would want her to use the product, would not want her to use, or would not care), and ease of use (easy to insert or requires practice). Women rated 9 scenarios, each a unique combination of attributes (fractional factorial design) on a scale ranging from 0–100 in increments of 10. Five additional items addressed FOB involvement in use.
Results Most women were 25–35 years old (69%), non-Hispanic White (65%), married/living with the FOB (90%), and had been pregnant before (71%). Of the 702 women with complete responses, 75 gave the same rating for all scenarios (51 rating all as 80–100), precluding them from the conjoint analysis. The highest rated scenario (M=72) was: for treatment, a gel, FOB wants her to use, easy to insert. The lowest rated (M=63) was: for prevention, a gel, FOB doesn’t want her to use, and takes practice. Conjoint analysis (n=627) showed that FOB’s attitudes was most important in influencing ratings (accounting for 49% of rating variability), followed by product formulation (22%; preference for gel), reasons for use (18%; preference for treatment), and ease of use (11%). Most women reported the FOB would assist in microbicide use by being supportive (83%), reminding them to use it (81%), and going to the store to get it (77%), and applying it (58%).
Conclusions Pregnant women are accepting of microbicide use for BV; however, the opinion of the FOB will be critical for uptake. Once a microbicide is available, strategies to enhance uptake will need to foster the FOB’s involvement and support.
Support: National Institutes of Health (R33AI098654)
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