Contraceptive vaginal ring experiences among women and men in Kisumu, Kenya: A qualitative study
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Contraceptive vaginal ring experiences among women and men in Kisumu, Kenya: A qualitative study

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    • Alternative Title:
      Front Womens Health
    • Description:
      Background Future HIV prevention options for women will likely include Antiretroviral (ARV)-based intravaginal rings. Valuable insights may be gained by examining user experiences with a similar licensed technology, a contraceptive ring, especially in settings where this technology may not be currently available. Methods In-depth interviews with 24 females enrolled in a trial assessing acceptability and use of a contraceptive ring, and 20 male sexual partners were conducted September 2014–April 2015. Elements of ethnography and phenomenological anthropology were used to collect, analyze, interpret, and describe ring users’ experiences. Thematic analysis was completed in MaxQDA-10. Results Experiences with the contraceptive ring reflected a broader Family Planning (FP) paradigm that centered around three themes: latitudes and drawbacks of FP (being free); an FP method needs to be compatible with a woman’s body (feeling normal); and dealing with fertility control uncertainties (how well does it really work). FP intentions and disclosure practices were influenced by partner support, socioeconomic factors, religion, cultural beliefs, and societal norms, including female sexuality. A user-friendly FP design was emphasized. Non-suppression of menstruation was favored by most. Unease with vaginal insertion as well as ring placement issues (slippage, expulsion) created initial challenges requiring clinician assistance and practice for some participants. While minor side-effects were described, concerns centered on ring efficacy, negative effect on a woman’s sexual desire, and future fertility issues. Conclusions Awareness of the multiple contexts in ring users’ experience may inform the development, education, and promotion approaches for future ARV rings.
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