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Generation of Knowledge for Reproductive Health Technologies: Constraints on Social and Behavioral Research


  • The authors wish to thank reviewers for their insights and advice. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the policies of Family Health International or the University of Florida.

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Cynthia Woodsong, P.O. Box 13950, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 27709 [e-mail:].


Advances in new reproductive health technologies have surfaced an array of social and behavioral issues regarding decision-making and use of these technologies, underscoring the need for research on such topics as reproductive health decision-making, sexual practices, and norms and values for childbearing and family formation. Using topical microbicides as an example of a new method to prevent Sexually Transmitted infections (STIs), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and/or pregnancy, we focus on gaps in information to inform reproductive health decision-making, noting in particular the discrepancies between data on clinical efficacy and typical use-effectiveness. Constraints on government and private sector support for research, particularly research on aspects of sexual behavior, contribute to problems with the availability of information for decision-making about use of reproductive health technologies.