Using vaginal ring can protect women against HIV: Study

| Updated: Jul 19, 2016 21:38 IST

Washington D.C. July 19 (ANI): A new study has found that using a vaginal ring ,containing an antiretroviral (ARV) drug called dapivirine monthly, may protect women against HIV. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Microbicide Trials Network found that among women who used the ring most regularly, HIV risk was cut by more than half across all analyses and in some by 75 percent or more. They found that dapivirine ring reduced the risk of HIV by 27 percent, meaning that 27 percent fewer women acquired HIV in the group assigned to use the dapivirine ring than in the group assigned to use a placebo ring containing no active drug. The study said that the dapivirine ring might be far more effective when used most or all the time. "Adherence to HIV prevention strategies is not always perfect, and we knew that not all women used the ring consistently, so we developed an analysis to explore the degree of HIV protection that was associated with more consistent use," said Elizabeth R. Brown, Sc.D., from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington in Seattle. He added, "Across all analyses we saw high adherence was associated with significantly better HIV protection." the study found that women account for nearly 60 percent of adults with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, where unprotected heterosexual sex is the primary driver of the epidemic. Despite advances in preventing HIV, women -young women, especially - still face disproportionate risk, and a number of current prevention options, including oral PrEP may not be accessible to or practical for many women. The researchers explained that ideally women should be able to have choices when it comes to protecting themselves against HIV because no one approach will be right for all women, nor be right at all times in their lives. The study was presented in 21st International AIDS Conference. (ANI)