BACKGROUND: Lower adherence to biomedical HIV prevention and challenges with persistence among young women underscore the need for methods to identify factors that will achieve higher adoption and use of effective prevention options and inform new approaches.
SETTING: South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.
METHODS: We synthesized findings from 2 multiphased studies (TRIO and Quatro) conducted with young women aged 18-30 years that included a crossover clinical study with placebo products, a discrete-choice experiment, and qualitative interviews with women, male partners, and health providers. TRIO evaluated 3 products (tablets, ring, and injections), and Quatro compared 4 vaginal products (ring, insert, film, and gel) for HIV prevention. Both were designed to assess product preferences, choice, and use.
RESULTS: Increased experience with placebo products in the crossover study informed young women's product ratings and preferences. Over half changed their mind regarding their most preferred product after trying each one. The integrated qualitative component was vital to understanding what prompted these preference shifts. The discrete choice experiment provided insights on how features not available in placebos, like efficacy and contraception, influence choice and the tradeoffs women may be willing to make to gain a desired product feature.
CONCLUSION: The use of multiple research methods allowed for evaluation of varied dimensions of acceptability, preference, and choice in the context of diverse biomedical HIV prevention delivery forms. Findings elucidated the value of product choice with differences in preference within and across settings. Collectively, the 3 methodologies offered important insights about these products informative to enhanced product design development and future implementation.