, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 415-422
Date: 28 Oct 2005

Barrier Method Preferences and Perceptions Among Zimbabwean Women and their Partners

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In Zimbabwe, adult HIV prevalence is over 25% and acceptable prevention methods are urgently needed. Sixty-eight Zimbabwean women who had completed a barrier-methods study and 34 of their male partners participated in focus group discussions and in-depth interviews to qualitatively explore acceptability of male condoms, female condoms and diaphragms. Most men and about half of women preferred diaphragms because they are female-controlled and do not detract from sexual pleasure or carry stigma. Unknown efficacy and reuse were concerns and some women reported feeling unclean when leaving the diaphragm in for six hours following sex. Nearly half of women and some men preferred male condoms because they are effective and limit women's exposure to semen, although they reportedly detract from sexual pleasure and carry social stigma. Female condoms were least preferred because of obviousness and partial coverage of outer-genitalia that interfered with sexual pleasure.