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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. Today, daily oral PrEP is the only HIV prevention tool for women that does not require partner negotiation at or around the time of sex. Access to PrEP is expanding, but more options are needed. Easy-to-use microbicides would fill an important HIV prevention need. They can be used discreetly and their effect is localized to the site of infection (the rectum or vagina) and not systemic (affecting the whole body), characteristics some people will prefer.

A range of microbicide strategies are under investigation, including gels, douches and the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring, which is being considered for licensure. Developed by the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), the ring would be the first microbicide and the next prevention tool available since oral PrEP’s approval in 2012. For the latest developments in Dapivirine Vaginal Ring research and plans for potential rollout, visit the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring page on PrEPWatch.

Key Update

The ring is a female-initiated option to reduce the risk of HIV infection. The ring must be worn inside the vagina and is made of silicone and is easy to bend and insert. The ring works by releasing the antiretroviral drug dapivirine from the ring into the vagina slowly over 28 days.

January 26, 2021
World Health Organization
What We're Reading

A quarterly newsletter highlighting important global updates on the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring.

April 6, 2021
PROMISE-CHOICE Collaborations

A vaginal ring that slowly releases an antiviral medication could protect women against HIV for up to three months, a preliminary trial suggests. It assessed two formulations of a vaginal ring that releases the antiretroviral dapivirine in the vagina over the course of 90 days.

March 10, 2021

Early human trials of a lubricant formulated specifically for anal sex and infused with the HIV prevention drug dapivirine showed higher drug concentrations in blood plasma than previous models. But those levels were still 35 percent lower than when people used the gel with an applicator, and the drug didn’t show up in rectal tissue at all.

February 17, 2021
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