Male contraceptive options are limited; however, product development efforts tend to focus on female methods. Research on attitudes toward methods for men—particularly in regions of low contraceptive prevalence, such as Sub-Saharan Africa—could inform the development of new male methods.
Qualitative data were taken from focus group discussions with 80 men aged 23–67 and 398 women aged 15–50 conducted in Burkina Faso and Uganda in 2016. Transcripts were analyzed thematically to explore support among men and women for male contraceptive methods, and to extract suggestions about ideal method characteristics.
Male and female participants in both countries expressed support for new male contraceptive options; more positive attitudes were expressed in Uganda than in Burkina Faso. Participants of both sexes recognized that male methods could reduce the family planning burden on women and offer men greater control over their fertility; however, some had concerns about side effects and thought that men would not use contraceptives. Relationship characteristics, such as polygamous unions, were cited as possible challenges. In both countries, various delivery methods (e.g., creams or jellies, injections and implants) and durations (from short-acting to permanent) were proposed.
The acceptability of new male methods among most participants in the two countries indicates a potential demand for male contraceptives. Options should include a variety of method characteristics to maximize choice, engage men, and support men and women's contraceptive needs.
Alice F. Cartwright is associate scientist; Anna Lawton is research associate, Behavioral, Epidemiological & Clinical Sciences Department; and Rebecca L. Callahan is associate director, Product Development & Introduction Department—all at FHI 360, Durham, NC, USA. Aurélie Brunie is health scientist, Health Services Research Department, FHI 360, Washington, DC.
The original study from which these data were drawn was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This analysis was supported in part by financial support from the Male Contraceptive Initiative. The funders had no role in data analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.