Women's initial understandings and anticipated acceptability of long-acting vaginal gels as potential anti-HIV microbicides was investigated by exploring the perceptibility variables associated with prototype formulations. Four focus groups with 29 women, aged 18-45, were conducted to consider gel prototypes with varied physicochemical and rheological properties. Participants responded favorably to the concept of long-acting vaginal gels as microbicides. Distinctions in understandings and stated needs regarding product dosing, characteristics, and effectiveness offer valuable insights into product design. Long-acting vaginal gels capable of protecting against HIV/STIs will be a viable option among potential users, with dosing frequency being an important factor in willingness to use.