vaginal ring hiv prevention In the search for effective HIV prevention techniques and drugs that neutralise the HIV virus, there is currently a study under way that puts prevention firmly in the hands of women.

The study uses a vaginal ring that releases an effective anti-retroviral dapivirine. The study being conducted will determine the affectiveness of the ring to prevent new infections as well as the long term effects of extended use of the HIV prevention vaginal ring.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this study is the initiative to put prevention in the hands of women who in Africa particularly are up against traditional belief systems which result in men refusing to use condoms. This allows women the opportunity to have a single method that lasts for an entire month, is not evident and requires little or no explanation to a prospective partner.

Women in Africa make up as much as 60% of the HIV infected population which is why this study and the effectiveness of the product are so very important.

About the study:

  • Only needs replacing once monthly unlike vaginal gels which rely on usage during every sexual encounter.
  • Dapivirine is a well established drug used in prevention, more particulalry mother to child transmission.
  • 1650 women in South Africa will form part of the initial study.
  • a 60% or higher prevention rate is expected.

Researchers are expecting to show that there are fewer side effects than using pills in HIV prevention, a much higher success rate than using gels or other prevention methods that rely on “at the time” use.

The ring, if effective also offers the opportunity to develop a monthly ring that offers both HIV prevention as well as birth control.