What Do Women Want in HIV Prevention?

May 27, 2014

For the past two decades, the HIV prevention research field has been on the hunt for options that women can use to reduce their risk of HIV, Up until recently, there have been few options other than the female condom. But in the past few years, a range of trial results have given new insights into strategies that could change the lives of women and men around the world. Some of these trials, including studies of oral tenofovir-based pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and the microbicide tenofovir gel have found high levels of protection in some study populations—and low or no protection in other studies of the same products. The difference? In some studies, women used the products on a regular basis. In others, they didn’t.

PrEP and tenofovir gel only protect if used consistently and correctly. So do the low adherence data mean that women don’t want, or won’t use these products in the real world—not at all. In fact, the research world is still exploring what impacts women’s decisions about adherence in clinical trials. In the process, they’re uncovering key questions that less about how women view a given product, and more about how women view research itself. AVAC and its partners are dedicated to informing this evolving conversation with views from women and men who are impacted by and asked to participate in clinical trials. We’re doing this in many ways, including ongoing country-level work focused on preparing for the results of ongoing clinical trials; in-depth exploration of the issue in our most recent AVAC Report; and a recent webinar from our “Research and Reality” series that focused on adherence, women’s product preferences and the future of HIV prevention trials in women.

Have an idea about what women want—or don’t want? Have a question? Let us know!