Study Finds Protection Against HIV With This Device

HIV virus

It seems vaginal rings may protect against more than just pregnancy.

Two studies released this week found that a monthly vaginal ring packed with the antiretroviral drug, Dapivirine, can significantly reduce HIV infection rates, reports The New York Times.

In The Ring Study, led by the International Partnership for Microbicides, safely reduced HIV infection rates by 31 percent – compared to a placebo.

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More than 1,900 HIV-negative women, ages 18 to 45, participated in the study at sites across South Africa and Uganda.

Another 2,629 HIV-negative women in the same age group participated in a second study, ASPIRE, led by the US National Institutes of Health-funded Microbicide Trials Network. The study sites were in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The results of the ASPIRE study saw a safe reduction in HIV infection rates by 27 percent.

Also, the ASPIRE study showed a reduction in HIV risk by 61 percent in women older than 21. These women appeared to use the ring more consistently, according to IPM.

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More testing, however, is still needed before the ring is available widely. HIV advocacy group, AVAC, recommends that preventive pills be made more available to women in Africa in the meantime.

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