Acceptability of female-controlled HIV/STI prevention options by Nigerian professionals — an exploratory study
The attitudes of working professionals, particularly in the healthcare sector, may play a large role in the acceptance or otherwise of female-controlled HIV/STI prevention options. In 2002, we conducted an exploratory study on the perceptions surrounding female-controlled HIV/STI prevention options, principally the acceptability of a female condom or a vaginal microbicide, among a small sample of Nigerian professionals. A self-administered structured questionnaire was given to 50 persons representing four professions. The majority of the respondents agreed with a proposition stating a need for female-controlled HIV/STI prevention options. More females than males supported such options; both male and female respondents expressed a higher preference for a vaginal microbicide than for the female condom. The reasons given for unwillingness to use the female condom included social, cultural and religious biases, cumbersomeness and inefficiency. Only a small proportion of the total respondents felt willing to participate in a clinical trial with the vaginal microbicide. Further studies are needed to determine the relevance of these findings to the professional community in Nigeria at large, especially for the purposes of planning better social marketing strategies.