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Dual contraceptive method use in HIV-serodiscordant Kenyan couples
  1. Alison C Roxby1,
  2. Leïla Ben-Youssef2,3,
  3. Grace Marx4,
  4. Freda Kinoti5,
  5. Rose Bosire5,
  6. Brandon Guthrie1,6,
  7. Romel Mackelprang6,
  8. James Kiarie7,8,
  9. Grace John-Stewart1,6,9,10,
  10. Carey Farquhar1,6,10
  1. 1Assistant Professor, Departments of Medicine and Global Health, University of Washington, WA, USA
  2. 2Resident Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Alameda County Medical Center, Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA, USA, and University of Washington School of Medicine, WA, USA
  3. 3Infectious Disease Fellow, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA
  4. 4Physician, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
  5. 5Senior Clinical Research Scientist, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
  6. 6Assistant Professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle WA, USA
  7. 7Acting Instructor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  8. 8Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
  9. 9Professor, Departments of Medicine, Global Health, Pediatrics, and Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  10. 10Professor, Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology, Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  1. Correspondence to Alison C Roxby, Assistant Professor, 325 Ninth Avenue, University of Washington, P.O. Box 359909, Seattle, WA 98104-2499 USA; aroxby{at}


Background World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend dual contraceptive method use with condoms and another contraceptive to reduce both incidence of HIV/sexually transmitted infection transmission and unintended pregnancies. This qualitative study assessed the barriers to and motivations for dual contraceptive use in Kenyan HIV-serodiscordant couples.

Methods HIV-serodiscordant couples in Nairobi, Kenya, were recruited from two longitudinal cohorts. Qualitative semistructured interviews were conducted using a semistructured questionnaire. Twelve male and 12 female members of serodiscordant couples and 10 women with incident pregnancies during the cohort studies were included.

Results Few couples reported using dual contraceptive methods, with men reporting more condom use than women. No HIV-seropositive men or HIV-seronegative women reported using non-condom contraception. Men and women agreed that men play a dominant role in decisions to use both condoms and contraception in HIV-serodiscordant couples. Participants reported that perceptions of side effects, male partner preference, and reproductive desire were critical factors in contraceptive decisions. Both men and women saw dual contraceptive method use as redundant and a sign of possible unfaithfulness. Many participants actively desired pregnancy, but few were able to accurately define monthly fertility windows.

Conclusions Dual contraceptive method use was low in these HIV-serodiscordant couples, with some couples finding it unnecessary while using condoms, and others being more focused on conceiving a child. Biomedical HIV prevention, including male circumcision, pre-exposure prophylaxis or antiretroviral therapy to reduce HIV transmission, may be more acceptable strategies to promote safer sexual relations among HIV-serodiscordant couples and safer conception when desired.

  • condom
  • counselling
  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • qualitative research
  • sexually transmitted infections

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