Open Access Open Badges Research article

An assessment of the likely acceptability of vaginal microbicides for HIV prevention among women in rural Ghana

Martha A Abdulai*, Frank Baiden, George Adjei, Samuel Afari-Asiedu, Kwame Adjei, Charlotte Tawiah and Sam Newton

Author affiliations

Kintampo Health Research Centre, P. O. Box 200, Kintampo, Ghana

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Citation and License

BMC Women's Health 2012, 12:40  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-12-40

Published: 1 November 2012



The findings of the CAPRISA tenofovir studies have raised expectations that soon an approved microbicide would be available. However it is in only a limited number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa that the acceptability of microbicides has been evaluated. We conducted a study to assess the acceptability of vaginal microbicides among women in rural Ghana.


The study employs a mixed method design, using cross-sectional survey and focus group discussions to further understand issues related to awareness and attitudes towards microbicide development, acceptability and perceived partner attitudes among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in two health facilities in the Kintampo North municipality of Ghana. We used logistic regression to identify possible predictors of microbicide acceptability among the women surveyed.


Although only 2% of the 504 women were aware of the development of microbicides, 95% were willing to use one when it became available. The cost of a microbicide that will be considered affordable to 50% of women was US$0.75. Although there were concerns about possible wetting effect, gel or creams were the most preferred (68% of women) formulation. Although 71% thought their partners will find microbicide acceptable, apprehensions about the feasibility of and consequences of failed discreet use were evident. 49% of women were concerned about possible negative effect of microbicide on sexual pleasure. Perceived partner acceptability (O.R. =17.7; 95%C.I. 5.03-62.5) and possibility of discreet use (O.R. =8.9 95%C.I. 2.63-30.13) were the important predictors of microbicide acceptability.


Achieving microbicide acceptability among male partners should be made a part of the promotive interventions for ensuring effective use among women in rural Ghana.

Women; Microbicide; HIV; AIDS; Africa