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Microarray patches were found to be acceptable as both multipurpose prevention technology and pre-exposure prophylaxis among participants of a recent study; however, some participants expressed a preference for multipurpose prevention technology.

Microarray patches (MAPs) are being developed as a multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) in order to prevent unplanned pregnancies and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. MAPs are also used in the development of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV. 

The current study assessed the perceptions, usability, and acceptability of MAPs in the Kenyan population using different tools. The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Reproductive Health.

Participant Characteristics

The study investigators implemented 10 focus group discussions, 47 mock use exercises, and 6 policymaker key informant interviews. The study population included female sex workers (FSWs), adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), men who have sex with men (MSM), male partners of AGYW and FSW, and providers.

Pragmatic Fitness of Microarray Patches in the Healthcare System

The stakeholders considered MPT MAPs superior as the technology aligned with the country’s currently implemented health service policies. Other perceived benefits include a reduction in the HIV-related stigma, reduced client time requirement, reduction in the pill burden and related health burden associated with taking multiple pills at different times, and increased interest among AGYW. However, hormonal contraceptive-intolerant male and female users preferred PrEP MAPs.

Acceptability of Microarray Patches for HIV Prevention and Unplanned Pregnancy

The majority of the participants reviewed the instructions for usage prior to performing the mock exercise, except for four participants, who later experienced user errors during the exercise. Cleaning the MAP application site was the most problematic task for the study participants.

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Acceptability of Microarray Patches for HIV Prevention

In all the mock use exercises and focus group discussions, participants expressed willingness to use MAP for protection against HIV as an MPT once it becomes available. The associated advantages included the longer wear time and convenience of usage. Only a few male partners raised suspicions regarding the occurrence of HIV infection with concurrent use of MAP.

Source:

Gachigua, S. G., Karuga, R., Ngunjiri, A., Jarrahian, C., Coffey, P. S., Kilbourne-Brook, M., & Otiso, L. (2023). Microarray patch for HIV prevention and as a multipurpose prevention technology to prevent HIV and unplanned pregnancy: an assessment of potential acceptability, usability, and programmatic fit in Kenya. Frontiers in Reproductive Health, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/frph.2023.1125159