Paving the Path: Preparing for Microbicide Introduction
The publication Paving the Path: Preparing for Microbicide Introduction details the results of a qualitative study conducted in South Africa. The study was implemented as a collaboration among EngenderHealth, the University of Cape Town-Women’s Health Research Unit, the Population Council, and the International Partnership for Microbicides. It was supported by USAID and the John D. Rockefeller Foundation.
The introduction of microbicides is likely to be complex for a number of reasons:
- Microbicides, especially first generation products, are likely to be only partially effective, with lower effectiveness than condoms in preventing HIV transmission.
- Microbicides will be “user-controlled” vaginal products that require acknowledgement and discussion of sexuality and sexual practices, issues that policy makers, providers, and users can find difficult.
- By potentially providing women with more power and control over their sexual lives, microbicides may challenge traditional gender norms.
Targeted social-science research into the beliefs and attitudes that are likely to affect understanding, acceptance, and use could greatly facilitate the introduction of these products. Such research—like that described in the report—can be used for informing policy, identifying necessary adjustments in the service delivery context, and guiding message development and product imaging for communities and users.