Breakthrough in HIV prevention

Ring-in-Hands_floral-dressPaidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
A vaginal ring containing an anti-retroviral (ARV) drug called dapivirine is safe for use and can prevent women from being infected with the HIV virus from an infected partner, two recent studies have shown.

The studies known as “A Study to Prevent Infection with a Ring for External Use” (ASPIRE) and The Ring Study showed chances of women getting infected with HIV when using the ring as prescribed were reduced by 27 percent and 31 percent respectively.

In a joint statement released on Monday by the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) and the Microbicides Trials Network (MTN) during the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) taking place in Boston, USA, combined — the two studies showed that dapivirine ring prevented one in three women from HIV acquisition.

ASPIRE protocol chair Dr Jared Baeten described the latest development as a glass half-full moment in the quest for an effective prevention method for women.

“The HIV prevention field for women has struggled in the last few years — at times the glass had seemed almost completely empty. Now, for the first time, we have two trials demonstrating that a female-controlled HIV prevention method can safely help reduce new HIV infections. I’m optimistic about what these results might mean for women worldwide,” he said.

IPM founding chief executive Dr Zeda Rosenerg said the findings give new hope for women’s prevention options.

She said her organisation would seek regulatory approvals for the ring and work with partners to determine its role in strengthening HIV prevention efforts.

“We are also hopeful we can learn more about how to help women who want to use the ring to do so consistently, which could help increase protection,” she said.

Two clinical trials which were conducted in Zimbabwe and other African countries started in 2012 and ended in 2015.

As sister studies, ASPIRE and The Ring Study were designed to provide evidence to support potential licensure of the dapivirine vaginal ring for preventing HIV in women. Because at least two Phase III efficacy trials are usually needed for a product to be considered for regulatory approval, ASPIRE and The Ring Study were conducted in parallel to accelerate the timeline to the ring’s potential approval.

Several other studies have shown that ARVs are highly effective in preventing HIV but how they are delivered was the issue among women.

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  • jaya

    torasa macondoms here?

  • Ngomalungundu

    Misleading headline. Like kuchecheudzwa, it only reduces the probability of infection by a %! Total prevention should be our aim.

  • HIV

    Ya! mankind is trying but it is to my advantage, am gonna hit hard, they will stop the little abstinence they try. I know they will not use it properly. Instead of letting the drug diffuse in the vagina so that when the infected semen is deposited it finds the drug ready then it works as expected, I know they will do it hasty. I will infect more than anticipated because I know people are loose, they will stop using condoms and they will further their immorality when they hear about this ring.

    Wait until poor quality rings or those with substitute drug are manufactured and given to Africans, and 27%-31% is not enough, and those studies are not reliable, you need 100%.

  • maita

    commercial business has killed the need for a cure of HIV because some multi million dollar companies propped up and would not want their business jeopardised by a cure. It now needs God to reestablish his kingdom where there is no weeping and no tears. Man has made money from deseases like a carbreaker or panelbeater he hates accident free days.

  • JZ

    What women need is a condom they can give to men, and as soon as man put it on it changes colour if the man is HIV. This would make women know the risk they are taking.
    At the moment the best prevention is to know the status of someone before you sleep with them. Why not develop a mobile application. where if you want to have sex with someone. you can have instant access to their status. All what would be required is for the sex partner to provide an authorisation code that one can give to their sex partner. There are no privacy issues here, what’s better to know someone is HiV positive before they sleep with a person or to know it when the other person has been infected. The real problem is our social contract. We have accepted that we can’t control our behaviour of sleeping around, we have accepted that people have affairs and we have accepted death because of HIV AIDS as a normal part of our society. We have failed ourselves by not having an attitude to develop responsible behaviour of not spreading HIV by sticking to one partner or informing your partner if you have taken risks before. We should respect human life by realising that sleeping with someone when you have taken risks is just as careless as point a gun at someone with a guarantee that you are going to kill them in time. Lets not accept that HIV is normal, lets fight for an HIV free generation, and the main challenge is to make sure infected generations do not find it easy to infect young AIDS free generations. If it takes laws to achieve that then let parliament work in laws to protect healthy young girls and healthy young boys from being infected until they marry a healthy partner and stay faithful

    • Chikuyochisamarengu

      Uri kutaura ngano dzaana tsuro na gudo chaidzo!

    • conrad Hondo

      zvaukutaura hazvina bren izvi

  • conrad Hondo

    haaaa nyoro bhooo kwete izvi

  • nesizw

    Another invention to encourage fornication. God have mercy!! Fornication has led to many getting infected. The answer to HIV is to be faithful to your partner, who MUST be your husband or wife. Too much prostitution and fornication going on in this generation

  • Emru Kunanti

    Chero mukagadzira zvi ring izvi condom handisiye. Nyoro ndaramba.

  • farimusika

    I think this is a good development. It will protect the faithfull partner in a marrieage union. But I am worried about its safety. thy did not say anything about side effectes and whether the ring has been tested for cancer and other women sexual health problems. We wouldnt was a situation where after 10 years of use it is discovered the ring causes cancer or this and that.

  • manhize chikapakapa