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Researchers develop new tool to predict who will use microbicides
Date:3/3/2008

Providence, RI Using a new tool designed to measure a womans willingness to use a microbicide (topical gels designed to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV), researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown University found that women who have used protective methods in the past, and those with casual sexual partners were more willing to use a microbicide compared to their peers.

Although a safe and effective microbicide has not been identified yet, several candidates are now undergoing clinical efficacy trials. The complete study is published in the November 2007 issue of Healthy Psychology.

The results may seem to be an obvious finding, but they are important because science has very little direct evidence of what characteristics and situations in womens lives would make them more likely to want to use a microbicide to prevent HIV infection, says lead author Kathleen M. Morrow, Ph.D., a psychologist at The Miriam Hospitals Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine and an assistant professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

An effective microbicide would have little impact on the rate of HIV transmission if it was unacceptable to women, i.e. if it makes their sexual experiences less pleasurable, or gets in the way, women wont use it, no matter how effective it is says Morrow.

In an attempt to understand the circumstances that compel women to decide to protect themselves or not, Morrow and her team designed the Willingness to Use Microbicides scale. The scale consists of a series of questions about particular situations, e.g. would you have wanted to use a microbicide the last time you had sex with your partner, as well as product-related questions, e.g. if a microbicide costs about as much as a male condom, would you have used it?

The questionnaire was given to 531 women in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. Eligibility criteria required that the women be 18-
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Contact: Megan Martin
mmartin@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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