Preparing for microbicide trials in Rwanda: Focus group discussions with Rwandan women and men
The acceptability and feasibility of microbicide studies and future microbicide use are influenced by existing norms and values regarding sexual and contraceptive behaviour. In preparation for microbicide research in Rwanda, focus group discussions were conducted to assess sexual and contraceptive behaviour, preferences for vaginal lubrication, and hypothetical acceptability of microbicides among Rwandan women and men. Seven focus group discussions were conducted among sexually active married women, unmarried women, sex workers, female students, older women and men living in Kigali, Rwanda, and an additional group of women living in a rural area. The results indicate that condom use is low among Rwandan men and women and that condoms are mainly used by men during commercial sex. Women have limited power to negotiate condom or family planning use. Vaginal hygiene practices are very common and consist primarily of washing with water. Lubrication during sex is highly preferred by both men and women. Hypothetical microbicide acceptability after an explanation of what microbicides are and a demonstration with lubricant jelly was high.