A Wearable HIV ‘Trap’ Is Helping Women In Africa Guard Against Infection
The struggle to stem the global HIV/AIDS pandemic may soon see relief from an innovative health product that’s shown early success with one group whose infection rates are among the most devastating: young women of southern Africa.
A monthly vaginal ring developed by the nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) has been shown to protect significantly against HIV infection when used consistently, according to Phase III study results described in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Similar in design to NuvaRing and other hormone-dispensing products, the small, flexible ring can be worn inside the vagina to release steady doses of the HIV-fighting microbicide dapivirine and prevent infection with success rates of up to 70 percent.
Conducted between 2012 and 2015 in 15 research sites across Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, the project studied the effectiveness of dapivirine-dispensing rings for preventing new HIV infection among healthy, nonpregnant women aged 18 to 45. It found that the risk of HIV infection for participants using dapivirine rings rather than placebo treatments was cut by at least 56 percent, while those who used the product the most saw prevention rates of as high as 75 percent.
- Health Care