AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 443–451 | Cite as

The Importance of Discreet Use of the Diaphragm to Zimbabwean Women and their Partners

  • Mi-Suk Kang
  • Jessica Buck
  • Nancy Padian
  • Sam F. Posner
  • Gertrude Khumalo-Sakutukwa
  • Ariane van der Straten
Original Paper


We conducted a 6-month acceptability study of diaphragms as a potential HIV/STI prevention method among Zimbabwean women. We examined partner involvement in diaphragm use, and importance of discreet use (use without partner awareness). Of the 181 women who completed the study, 45% said discreet use was “very or extremely important” and in multivariate logistic regression, women were more likely to value discretion if their partners: had other partners; drank alcohol; or were believed to prefer condoms to diaphragms. Qualitative data confirmed these findings. Both women and their partners reported that diaphragms can be used discreetly and saw this as advantageous, for both sexual pleasure and female control. However, many were concerned that use without partner approval could lead to marital problems. Discreet use should be considered in development of barrier methods and in diaphragm promotion, if proven effective against HIV/STI.


Diaphragms Acceptability Zimbabwe Female-controlled methods HIV/STD prevention 



This study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Contraceptive Research and Development (CONRAD) Program (contract # CSA-99-269). We would like to gratefully acknowledge the participants without whom this study would not have been possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mi-Suk Kang
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jessica Buck
    • 2
  • Nancy Padian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sam F. Posner
    • 3
  • Gertrude Khumalo-Sakutukwa
    • 1
  • Ariane van der Straten
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.UZ-UCSF Collaborative Research Programme in Women’s HealthHarareZimbabwe
  2. 2.Department of OBGYNUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Women’s Global Health ImperativeSan FranciscoUSA

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