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Adolescent and young adult couples’ views of intravaginal practices: a qualitative analysis of a pilot study

Authors Moise IK, de Joya E, Caplan B, Rodriguez VJ, Butts S, Chisembele M, Weiss SM, Jones DL, Alcaide ML

Received 14 July 2018

Accepted for publication 27 September 2018

Published 18 January 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 49—56


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Imelda K Moise,1,2 Evan de Joya,1 Benjamin Caplan,1 Violeta J Rodriguez,3 Stefani Butts,3 Maureen Chisembele,4 Stephen M Weiss,3 Deborah L Jones,3 Maria L Alcaide3

1Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA; 2Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA; 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL33136, USA; 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

Purpose: In this study, we evaluated the risk behaviors that are drivers of the HIV epidemic among adolescent girls and young women in Zambia using a focus group research technique.
Subjects and methods: Eighteen adolescent couples (n=18 females and 18 males) aged 16–24 participated in six focus groups discussions (3 per gender) convened at three health facilities in Lusaka, Zambia. Focus group moderators utilized a set of open-ended questions to guide the 60-minute sessions. The focus group audio recordings were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis in Nvivo 11.
Results: Three themes and four subthemes were identified relating to adolescent and young adult couples’ knowledge, views, and male partner attitudes toward intravaginal practices (IVPs). The first theme, knowledge and rationale for IVPs, consisted of the subthemes relating to why adolescents and young adult couples engage in IVPs and assessed their knowledge of health risks associated with IVPs. The second theme, attitudes toward IVPs, consisted of the subtheme willingness to stop or support partner to discontinue IVP and practices toward IVP and strategies for changing. The third theme, strategies for changing IVPs, consisted of the subtheme raise awareness.
Conclusion: IVPs used for cleaning purposes were perceived as essential to enhancing hygiene, health, and sexual satisfaction for both girls and boys. However, couples expressed concern about the health effects of IVPs used for tightening and a desire for learning more about this practice as well as stopping it.

Keywords: bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted infection, Zambia, focus groups, HIV

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