Impact of the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring on Sexual Experiences and Intimate Partnerships of Women in an HIV Prevention Clinical Trial: Managing Ring Detection and Hot Sex
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Vaginally-inserted HIV prevention methods have been reported to impact the sexual experience for women and their partners, and hence impacts acceptability of and adherence to the method. We analyzed in-depth interviews and focus group discussions about participants’ sexual experiences while wearing the ring, collected during the MTN-020/ASPIRE phase 3 safety and effectiveness trial of a dapivirine vaginal ring for HIV prevention in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Most women reported that partners did not feel the ring during sex, however, women felt they had to manage their partners’ interaction with or reaction to the ring. In maintaining positive relationships, women were concerned about partners’ discovering ring use and about ensuring that partners had a good sexual experience with them. Finally women were concerned about how they themselves experienced sex with the ring. Some found that the ring made the vaginal environment more desirable for their partners and themselves.
KeywordsGender HIV Clinical trial Vaginal ring Sexual relationship Sub-Saharan Africa
This study was funded by the Microbicide Trials Network, which is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (UM1AI068633, UM1AI068615, UM1AI106707), with co-funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health, all components of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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