CAPRISA 008, an open-label extension study of tenofovir gel with coitally-related dosing, provided an opportunity to explore the relationship between product adherence and gender dynamics in a context where women knew they were receiving an active product with evidence of HIV prevention effectiveness. Interviews with 63 CAPRISA 008 participants and 13 male partners in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, highlighted that the process of negotiating gel use was determined in part by relationship dynamics including the duration of the relationship, the living situation, an evaluation of the relationship (e.g., partner intimacy and relationship expectations) and culturally-defined steps for formalizing the relationship. While disclosure facilitated adherence for many, others reported using the gel effectively with no disclosure, and in some situations disclosure was a barrier to adherence. Women should be supported in their choice about what to disclose and have opportunity to use this and similar products without their partners’ knowledge or acquiescence.
Social Context of Adherence in an Open-Label 1 % Tenofovir Gel Trial: Gender Dynamics and Disclosure in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.