Knowledge and perceptions of HIV among peripartum women and among men whose wives are of reproductive age, northern Thailand
Tharawan K, Manopaiboon C, Ellertson CE, Limpakarnjanarat K, Kilmarx PH, Elias CJ. Knowledge and perceptions of HIV among peripartum women and among men whose wives are of reproductive age, northern Thailand. Contraception. July 2003; 68(1):47-53.
To investigate knowledge and perceptions of HIV transmission risk and interest in vaginal microbicides in northern Thailand, we conducted 14 focus group discussions and 80 interviews with men and women in Chiang Rai province. Women were recruited from antenatal or postpartum clinics, and men from various work sites. Participants evinced substantial knowledge about HIV, with two exceptions important for prevention campaigns: (a) confusion about the window period between a new infection and positive HIV-test result and (b) overestimation of the safety of extramarital sex with partners who are not sex workers. Most participants reported no personal HIV risk. Participants described Thai women as generally vulnerable to HIV infection because of the unlikelihood of condom use with their husbands and because women cannot control their husbands' extramarital behavior. Women apparently face particular risk after childbearing; peripartum abstinence averages 6-9 months, during which time some Thai men may have alternative sex partners. Women, and to a lesser degree, men were interested in potential microbicides, although they voiced many thoughtful questions about the products and about efficacy trials.