Contraception. 2017 Oct 18. pii: S0010-7824(17)30494-8. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2017.10.006.

Interest in multipurpose prevention technologies to prevent HIV/STIs and unintended pregnancy among young women in the United States

Hynes JS, Sales JM, Sheth AN, Lathrop E and Haddad LB

Abstract

Objectives: High rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy suggest a role for multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) designed to combine contraception and infection prophylaxis into one unified method. This study aims to determine factors associated with interest in MPTs among U.S. women.

Study design: We administered a national cross-sectional survey via MTurk. Eligibility criteria included female gender, age 18-29years, residence in the U.S., and sexual activity with a male partner in the past three months. In total, 835 surveys were suitable for analysis. Bivariable and multivariable logistic regressions were performed to determine factors associated with interest in MPTs.

Results: Eighty-three percent of women were interested in MPTs. Factors associated with interest included oral sex in the past three months (aOR 1.87, 95% CI 1.07, 3.53), recent use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs; aOR 1.78, 95% CI 1.08, 2.93), HIV test within one year (aOR 2.10, 95% CI 1.29, 3.40), and increased STI worry score (aOR 1.98, 95% CI 1.36, 2.86). No use of contraception in the past three months was associated with decreased interest in MPTs (aOR 0.31, 95% CI 0.17, 0.58). HIV risk factors including race were not associated with MPT interest.

Conclusion: Our data show that young, sexually active, U.S. women are interested in MPTs. Women who used contraception, specifically OCPs, or evidenced concern for infection were most likely to be interested in such a product. Women reporting unsafe sexual habits were less likely to be interested, highlighting the importance of HIV/STI prevention education.

Implications: Women in the U.S. are interested in multipurpose prevention technologies, particularly those women who currently use contraception or are concerned about their risk of infection. Our results emphasize the importance of moving forward with MPT development as well as continued HIV/STI prevention education.

Comment: Although this study was done in the US, it also has relevance for other countries: the approach to combine contraception with prevention of STDs, including counseling, appeared highly successful among women. Practitioners should always bring up the risk of STDs, when talking about contraception. (HMV)