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HIV prevention is about having options. Microbicides must be among them.

The term “microbicide” refers to substances being studied that could be used in the vagina and/or rectum to reduce the risk of HIV infection via sexual exposure. There are no licensed microbicides available today. Vaginal and rectal microbicides could help address some of HIV prevention’s greatest unmet needs. Millions of women and men today lack the power to insist that their sexual partners use condoms or other available prevention strategies. Simple, easy-to-use microbicides would help these individuals take control of their own health – while offering people everywhere an additional, needed option.

While no microbicide is commercially available, clinical trials could lead to licensing of the first products within this decade. To ensure that people can benefit quickly, the foundation for rollout must be laid now. Just as importantly, prevention researchers and planners need to make sure that every product—and every prevention program—truly meets the needs of women and men they aim to benefit.

What We're Reading
The Microbicide Trials Network announced that follow-up of participants in ASPIRE, a phase III trial that tested the safety and effectiveness of a vaginal ring containing the ARV dapvirine for HIV prevention in women, has been completed. Results are expected in early 2016, and preparations are underway to ensure that stakeholders are ready for whatever the results may be. For more information —
June 29, 2015

Researchers at University Alabama Birmingham are enrolling women ages 15 to 17 in a study of a vaginal ring that may prevent HIV. The UAB study is only testing the safety of the ring in teenagers, not the effectiveness. Previous studies have established its safety in adult women.

June 17, 2015

ASPIRE is a phase III trial testing the safety and effectiveness of a vaginal ring containing dapivirine for prevention of HIV-1 infection. The study design, procedures, and the characteristics of the African women enrolled in the ASPIRE trial are described.

June 10, 2015
PLOS Medicine
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