A new HIV prevention measure, Dapivirine Ring, which has up to seventy-one per cent ability to protect users from contracting the virus has proved to be super-effective, according to preliminary research results by University of North Carolina (UNC) and John Hopkins.
Speaking during a training workshop organized by journalists association against Aids (Journaids) at Bridge View Hotel in Lilongwe, UNC project study coordinator, Tchangani Tembo, said the vaginal ring is designed to protect women from HIV infection during sex.
The ring contains a combination of ARV products and is supposed to sit on the cervix.
“The long acting ring slowly releases an anti-retroviral drug called dapivirine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase that prevents the virus from replicating in healthy cells. The woman inserts the ring so that it sits on the cervix for a period of a month before it can be replaced,” said Tembo.
Tembo said research on the ring was still on-going and that once they are done the product will be available for use across the world.
He said they were actually on the open label clinical trial for the ring.
With the trial, no attempt is made to disguise the investigational treatment and no placebo or control treatment is used. As a result, both the physician and patient know which treatment is being provided.
Journaids programmes manager, Dingaan Mithi, said women and girls were responding well as far as the dapivirine ring subject is concerned, citing a project they are running in Mchinji with Mudzi Wathu community radio station.
“There is great feedback that we are getting from the community,” said Mithi.
The ring is a property of International Partnership for Microbicides with UNC and John Hopkins as principal researchers on its pros and cons.
Journaids are helping out with advocacy for the ring in Malawi.
According to the United Nation AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates for 2014, over one million people are living with HIV in Malawi with a larger percentage being women.