Products That Meet the Needs of Women

The great promise of microbicides will be realized only if the women who need them can and will use them consistently and correctly once they are made available.

That is why IPM takes the preferences of women and their partners into account from the earliest stages of product development.

Women's Preferences and Product Choice

We know from the contraceptive field that offering product choice increases the chances that products will be used. 

IPM is researching a number of different formulations and delivery methods that will match women’s preferences to ensure that microbicides will not just be technically effective but also be used in the real world to prevent HIV infection. 

Microbicides would offer self-initiated product options that can work for and meet the needs of different women at different times in their lives.

Products Women Want and Use

IPM conducts market research and product acceptability studies in communities where the need for new HIV prevention strategies are greatest to determine the types of products that women there prefer to use.

These studies ask participants about their experiences using various vaginal products, and ask women and their male partners about their effect on their sexual relationships. 

To date, IPM has conducted several studies assessing the preferences of women and their partners for a variety of products, including vaginal gels, films, tablets, soft gel capsules and vaginal rings. 

Combining HIV Prevention and Contraception

It is essential that women have options to protect against HIV that also preserve their reproductive choices.

Under a grant from USAID, IPM is developing a multipurpose vaginal ring that contains the ARV dapivirine to protect against HIV infection as well as a contraceptive to address women's family planning needs.