Influencing the importance of health, partners, and hygiene among Zambian women

Violeta J. Rodriguez, Maureen Chisembele, Deborah L. Jones, Ryan Cook, Stephen M. Weiss, Maria L. Alcaide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Intravaginal practices (IVPs) are common in Zambia and are usually practiced for hygiene, partner pleasure, and health. IVPs are associated with HIV acquisition, changes in the vaginal flora, and bacterial vaginosis (BV), making it important to understand the decision-making process behind IVP engagement. The Women’s and Sexual Health (WASH) intervention decreased IVP engagement among HIV-infected Zambian women, though change in reasons for engagement has not been assessed. We used conjoint analysis (CA) to quantify the decision-making process of IVP engagement and evaluated how the WASH intervention impacted these factors. Participants were N = 84 women (37 ± 8 years old) randomized to WASH (n = 46) or standard of care plus (SOC+; n = 38) who completed demographic measures and a CA questionnaire at baseline, six months, and 12 months to quantify the importance placed on hygiene, partner pleasure, and health. The importance placed on health increased from baseline to six months (15.5 versus 25.1; p < 0.001) and from baseline to 12 months (15.5 versus 50.5; p < 0.001), and was higher in SOC+ at six months (19.9 versus 30.3; p = 0.003). Hygiene importance decreased from baseline (63.6) to six months (50.3), and from baseline to 12 months (26.1), and was higher in the experimental arm at six months (56.1) compared to SOC+ (44.6; p = 0.029). Importance placed on partner pleasure did not change over time in either group. Findings suggest that both groups exhibited an increase in the importance placed on health and a decrease on hygiene importance for IVP engagement, suggesting that SOC+ may be sufficient to promote attitude changes that may facilitate IVP discontinuation and may prove to be more cost effective by using fewer monetary resources. Findings highlight the potential of interventions to influence attitudes toward IVPs and provide novel avenues for research to improve the design and conduct of interventions aimed at reducing IVPs among Zambian women and contribute to HIV prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • Women
  • Zambia
  • conjoint analysis
  • intravaginal practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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