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Vaginal ring acceptability and related preferences among women in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and narrative synthesis.

07:00 EST 8th November 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Vaginal ring acceptability and related preferences among women in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and narrative synthesis."

The vaginal ring (VR) is a female-initiated drug-delivery platform used for different indications, including HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). We conducted a systematic review of VR acceptability, values and preferences among women in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) to inform further investment and/or guidance on VR use for HIV prevention. Following PRISMA guidelines, we used structured methods to search, screen, and extract data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies reporting quantitative outcomes of acceptability of the VR for any indication published 1/1970-2/2019 (
PROSPERO:
CRD42019122220). Of 1,110 records identified, 68 met inclusion criteria. Studies included women 15-50+ years from 25 LMIC for indications including HIV prevention, contraception, abnormal bleeding, and menopause. Overall VR acceptability was high (71-98% across RCTs; 62-100% across observational studies), with 80-100% continuation rates in RCTs and favorable ease of insertion (greater than 85%) and removal 89-99%). Users reported concerns about the VR getting lost in the body (8-43%), although actual expulsions and adverse events were generally infrequent. Most women disclosed use to partners, with some worrying about partner anger/violence. The VR was not felt during intercourse by 70-92% of users and 48-97% of partners. Acceptability improved over time both within studies (as women gained VR experience and worries diminished), and over chronological time (as the device was popularized). Women expressed preferences for accessible, long-acting, partner-approved methods that prevent both HIV and pregnancy, can be used without partner knowledge, and have no impact on sex and few side effects. This review was limited by a lack of standardization of acceptability measures and study heterogeneity. This systematic review suggests that most LMIC women users have a positive view of the VR that increases with familiarity of use; and, that many would consider the VR an acceptable future delivery device for HIV prevention or other indications.

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Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0224898

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