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J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2010 Jan;36(1):13-9. doi: 10.1783/147118910790290966.

Feasibility and potential acceptability of three cervical barriers among vulnerable young women in Zimbabwe.

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Women's Global Health Imperative, RTI International, San Francisco, CA, USA.



We explored the potential acceptability of three cervical barriers (CB) (Ortho All-Flex diaphragm, SILCS diaphragm, FemCap cervical cap) among sexually experienced Zimbabwean young women.


Forty-five young women (aged 16-21 years) received an individual CB educational session. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of the three CBs in a 1:1:1 ratio, and practised insertion and removal of their device at the clinic. Next, participants were interviewed on their practice experiences, and their post-practice attitudes towards CB.


All 45 young women were willing and able to insert their assigned device. The majority reported "easy" insertion and removal and 93% "liked" the device they tried. All showed interest in participating in future CB studies: when asked which device they would like to try in the future, over half (58%) chose SILCS, regardless of the device they had tried. The majority felt comfortable touching their genitals to insert/remove the CB and most participants favoured methods' attributes associated with female-control and non-interference with sex. Over half the participants said they would prefer to use a CB continuously compared to episodic use. Two-thirds of them expressed interest in CB for dual protection.


The concept of CB, and initial insertion experience, were well accepted in this selected, small group of Zimbabwean young women. Evaluating CB in larger studies seems feasible in this population.

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