CONTEXT: Interest in the diaphragm has been growing, in part because it is a female-controlled method that might protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A better understanding of diaphragm acceptability is needed.
METHODS: In 2001–2002, female members of a managed care organization were interviewed by telephone. The 215 participants, aged 19–49, who reported diaphragm use during the past three months were asked about their experience with the method and background characteristics. Characteristics associated with women's satisfaction with and consistent use of the diaphragm were identified through multiple logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: Most participants had a low risk for HIV and other STDs. The mean duration of diaphragm use was 8.5 years. Although only 42% of participants reported consistent use in the past three months, most were satisfied with the method (79%) and planned to use it at next vaginal intercourse (85%). Satisfied users had significantly higher diaphragm use self-efficacy and more positive perceptions of the method than those not satisfied. Consistent use was significantly associated with older age and having had some college education rather than none. More than half of women cited dissatisfaction with previous methods (72%) and provider recommendation (61%) as moderately to extremely important in their decision to begin diaphragm use. When asked what they would change about the diaphragm, 32% mentioned concerns related to inserting or removing it.
CONCLUSIONS: From an acceptability point of view, the diaphragm appears to be a viable candidate for a female-controlled method for prevention of HIV and other STDs. Our findings have important implications for the reintroduc-tion of the traditional diaphragm and development of new diaphragm-like products.