Objectives: The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) is an underused contraceptive method in sub-Saharan Africa. A recent market assessment in Kenya found that if a more affordable version of the method were available it may increase demand and uptake of the method. We therefore aimed to examine attitudes and perceptions around the LNG-IUS and experiences of method use, including exploring attributes such as bleeding changes, contraceptive-related amenorrhoea and perceived non-contraceptive benefits.
Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted among 29 women who were current or recent users of the LNG-IUS, and among a subset (n = 9) of their husbands/partners.
Results: Our findings indicate that women's main reason for choosing the LNG-IUS for contraception was their perception that the method had fewer side effects compared with other contraceptive methods. Women had favourable attitudes towards using the LNG-IUS. Husbands were also very positive about their partner's use of the method.
Conclusion: Understanding the motivations and experiences of early adopters of the LNG-IUS can help inform the development of demand creation and communication strategies to influence uptake and continuation of the LNG-IUS both in Kenya and perhaps more broadly. Communication efforts that emphasise the positive attributes of the LNG-IUS could help promote wider use of the method, especially if new, more affordable product(s) become available.
Keywords: Kenya; LARC; LNG-IUS; Mirena; levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system; long-acting reversible contraception; partner perspective.