Malawi researchers are currently studying if women might be able to protect themselves from HIV infection and pregnancy by inserting a vaginal ring.
The researchers are into an MTN 020 (ASPIRE), a microbicide study to determine whether a woman’s use of a vaginal ring containing the antiretroviral (ARV) drug dapivirine, which is not currently used for treatment, is a safe and effective method for protecting against HIV infection in women when inserted in the vagina once every 4 weeks.
The research is being conducted by University of North Carolina (UNC) project in Lilongwe and John Hopkins University (JHU) in Blantyre and in other SADC countries which have a disproportionate high level of HIV prevalence in sub Saharan Africa.
Currently in advanced clinical testing phase, rings that slowly deliver ARV medicine into a woman’s vagina will also might also carry a contraceptive.
UNC project study coordinator Tchangani Tembo said has enrolled a total of 272 women with 142 at UNC project.
“Women tend to be disproportionately infected in all age groups in the population. Condoms are widely regarded as inadequate prevention options for women, because many women are unable to negotiate its use with their partners.
“Vaginal microbicides, which are self-initiated, offer women a critically needed new tool to prevent HIV, complementing existing prevention strategies,” he said.
Tembo said currently the study is in follow up stage and results are anticipated late 2015 or early 2016.
The study is being funded by Southern African AIDS Trust (SAAT).
SAAT Country Program Officer Novice Bamusi said the product will provide women with an opportunity to protect themselves from acquiring HIV without their partners knowing when they negotiate sex.
“It will also be another tool in the repertoire of prevention measures available,” he said.
Using the ring, women will have a discreet way of preventing HIV, so their partners will not notice it.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :