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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

The Vaginal Ring was submitted to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) for review on March 5, 2021 and according to MCAZ procedures, approval for a medical drug or innovation usually takes between three months or a few years, depending on the completeness of the technical information that would have been submitted to the authority.

July 14, 2021
Health Times

The extended duration DPV rings were well-tolerated and achieved higher DPV concentrations compared with the monthly DPV ring. These findings support further evaluation of three-month DPV rings for HIV prevention.

June 12, 2021
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