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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Attitudes towards microbicide use for bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy

Marina Catallozzi A B E , Camille Y. Williams A , Gregory D. Zimet C , Katharine M. Hargreaves A , Shari E. Gelber D , Adam J. Ratner A , Lawrence R. Stanberry A and Susan L. Rosenthal A

A Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons-Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian Hospital, 622 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.

B Heilbrunn Department of Population & Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health New York, 60 Haven Avenue, New York, NY 10032, USA.

C Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, 410 West 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.

D Weill Cornell Medical College, 525 East 168th Street, New York, NY 10065, USA.

E Corresponding author. Email: mc2840@cumc.columbia.edu

Sexual Health 11(4) 305-312 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH14011
Submitted: 10 January 2014  Accepted: 27 May 2014   Published: 21 August 2014

Abstract

Background: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common reproductive tract infection (RTI) and is a significant risk factor for preterm birth. Microbicides could be an option for the prevention and treatment of BV in pregnancy, and understanding use of the product will be crucial. The present study explored attitudes of women in the third trimester of pregnancy regarding topical microbicide use for the prevention and treatment of BV. Methods: Twenty-six women in their third trimester were interviewed regarding their knowledge and beliefs about RTIs during pregnancy and attitudes concerning the use of topical microbicides for prevention and treatment of BV. Results: Participants had a mean age of 24.9 years, were largely under-represented minorities and the majority had had past pregnancies. Participants had knowledge and experience with RTIs but not BV. They were open to the use of microbicides for prevention or treatment of BV, but believed that women requiring treatment would be more motivated. Rationales for acceptability were most commonly related to the baby’s health. Practical issues that may interfere with use were often, but not always, related to pregnancy. There was a range of attitudes about partner involvement in decision-making and the practicalities of product use. Conclusion: Pregnant women are knowledgeable about RTIs but not necessarily BV. The women in this study found microbicide use acceptable, particularly for treatment. To improve acceptability and use, education would be needed about BV and possible complications, how to overcome practical problems and the value of involving partners in the decision.

Additional keywords: acceptability, prevention, topical microbicides, treatment.


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