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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 ring research and plans for potential rollout, visit the dapivirine ring page on PrEP Watch.

Key Update

In this episode of Px Pulse, Zeda Rosenberg of IPM explains the latest findings and spells out how, when, where and if the ring might become an available tool. A trial participant and community leader in Uganda pulls back the curtain on the ups and downs of using the ring, and a Ugandan investigator with the REACH study explains the importance of this trial.

March 30, 2018
What We're Reading

Both drugs from single entity or combination films were able to provide sustained drug release in vivo. The combination film showed lower local tissue clearance for DPV and exhibited significantly increased plasma concentration for LNG as compared to the single entity film. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates the ability of this novel bioadhesive film platform to deliver LNG and DPV simultaneously as an MPT product for the prevention of HIV infection and unintended pregnancy.

December 18, 2019

Women expressed preferences for accessible, long-acting, partner-approved methods that prevent both HIV and pregnancy, can be used without partner knowledge, and have no impact on sex and few side effects. This review was limited by a lack of standardization of acceptability measures and study heterogeneity. This systematic review suggests that most LMIC women users have a positive view of the vaginal ring (VR) that increases with familiarity of use; and, that many would consider the VR an acceptable future delivery device for HIV prevention or other indications.

November 8, 2019
PLoS One
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