Vaginal microbicides potentially empower women to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially when culture, religion, or social status may prevent them from negotiating condom use. The open literature contains minimal information on factors that drive user acceptability of women's health products or vaginal drug delivery systems. By understanding what women find to be most important with regard to sensory properties and product functionality, developers can iteratively formulate a more desirable product. Conjoint analysis is a technique widely used in market research to determine what combination of elements influence a consumer's willingness to try or use a product. We applied conjoint analysis here to better understand what sexually-active woman want in a microbicide, toward our goal of formulating a product that is highly acceptable to women. Both sensory and non-sensory attributes were tested, including shape, color, wait time, partner awareness, messiness/leakage, duration of protection, and functionality. Heterosexually active women between 18 and 35 years of age in the United States (n = 302) completed an anonymous online conjoint survey using IdeaMap software. Attributes (product elements) were systematically presented in various combinations; women rated these combinations of a 9-point willingness-to-try scale. By coupling systematic combinations and regression modeling, we can estimate the unique appeal of each element. In this population, a multifunctional product (i.e., broad spectrum STI protection, coupled with conception) is far more desirable than a microbicide targeted solely for HIV protection; we also found partner awareness and leakage are potentially strong barriers to use.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)