Study to Address Women’s Views Toward Diaphragms as STD, HIV Prevention Method
A University of Oregon research team has received a $1 million NIH grant to study women's attitudes toward using diaphragms as a contraceptive device and as a method to prevent STD infection, Women's Health Weekly/NewsRx.com reports. The study will interview current and former diaphragm users to gauge their opinions on the benefits and drawbacks of diaphragms, and will try to persuade young women "at risk of contracting STDs" to use the device. Researcher Marie Harvey plans to examine whether the women in the study would use a diaphragm "if they knew it could protect them from HIV and other STDs." Harvey added, "If the diaphragm protects against (some) STDs and pregnancy, and might offer protection against HIV, it could be a wonderful option for women." While diaphragms have been shown to prevent gonorrhea and chlamydia, research is not conclusive on whether they prevent HIV transmission. If Harvey's study reveals "broad-enough acceptance" of the diaphragm, NIH may decide to fund an additional study examining the potential of diaphragms as a method to prevent HIV. Currently, only 2% of contraceptive users use diaphragms (Women's Health Weekly/NewsRx.com, 1/18).