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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 be additional prevention tools for women and men at risk of HIV around the world. Today, daily oral PrEP is the only prevention tool that women can use to reduce risk of HIV that does not require partner negotiation at or around the time of sex. Access to this strategy is limited and expanding slowly. But more options are needed. Simple, easy-to-use vaginal microbicides would fill an important HIV prevention need.

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 by exploring the feasibility, acceptability and impact of introducing new tools like oral PrEP and developing combination prevention platforms where new products can be easily introduced.

Results from two Phase III multi-country trials (ASPIRE and Ring) studying the 4-week slow-release dapivirine vaginal ring were released at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection. Click here for press releases, background information and other useful resources about the Ring and ASPIRE studies.

What We're Reading

This article from POZ magazine provides a round-up of early findings from ongoing late phase studies on the dapivirine ring. Both studies show that the vaginally inserted ring containing the drug dapivirine reduces new HIV infection by at least half among women who use it most or all of the time. Presented at the 2018 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, POZ reported on results from two trials, the HOPE study and the DREAM study.

March 6, 2018

The Body published this story offering a comparison of the development of the Dapivirine Ring and a microbicide douche. Reporter Tim Murphy explores the debate surrounding the question of continued investment in microbicide research.

March 1, 2018
The Body

This POZ article presents a clear overview of the ongoing debate about the future research agenda of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Division of AIDS (DAIDS). Reporter Benjamin Ryan takes readers through the DAIDS process, clarifies the competing arguments and explains how PrEP is re-shaping the discussion.

December 8, 2017
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