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For more basic fact sheets in this series on emerging HIV prevention strategies visit www.avac.org/intro.

The Need

Women need a variety of prevention strategies for different needs. They need protection against HIV and other STIs, as well as the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. Today only male and female condoms do both. But these methods require partner negotiation and cooperation which can be a challenge. Many women may not know the full range of options or be able to find them from trained providers. They may not be able to access or pay for them. Women have long asked for methods that meet HIV prevention and family planning needs and are easy to use —and work is underway to develop these “multipurpose prevention technologies”.

The Products

Multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs)—most of which are still experimental—are designed to address two or more sexual and reproductive health concerns simultaneously; for example, combining protection against unintended pregnancy and at least one sexually transmitted infection. Both male and female condoms prevent against HIV, other STIs and pregnancy and so are important examples of MPTs that already exist. Additional choices that are not reliant on partner cooperation are needed for women to have more control of their sexual and reproductive health.

Effective, affordable, and widely available MPTs would save lives and money, improving the health of women and their families across the globe.

The good news is that here are nearly a dozen MPTs in clinical trials, with many other innovative technologies in earlier stages of development. MPTs in development include:

  • Longer-acting vaginal rings
  • Fast-dissolving films and tablets
  • Innovative and effective gels
  • Injectables that combine contraception and protection against infection
  • Nanofiber delivery systems

The MPT product development box shows a variety of possible technologies. Indication lists possible health issues addressed by MPT. Delivery Mode: lists technology by type, e.g. vaginal gel, pill or injection. Mechanism by action: lists the range of biological action MPT can be designed to perform, e.g. physical barrier, hormonal contraceptive [HC]. Dosage & Administration lists methods to administer dosage, e.g. daily pill, topical application, sustained through the blood, taken around the time of sex (on-demand).

The Pipeline

The table below highlights a few products for both sustained-release and on-demand (peri-coital) products. Women will have different needs and preferences throughout their lives. A variety of products is key to meeting the needs of different women.

Last edited September 2016.