This ring can help stop the spread of HIV in women

By: 
Agencies

In the ongoing fight against HIV, researchers claim to have discovered a method of significantly reducing the risk of women contracting the disease

When used consistently for a month at a time, tests show that a vaginal ring containing an antiretroviral (ARV) drug called dapivirine can provide significant protection against HIV.

In particular, among women who appeared to use the ring most regularly, HIV risk was cut by more than half, and in some, by 75 per cent or more.

The results come from the Aspire study (A Study to Prevent Infection with a Ring for Extended Use) announced at The International Conference on AIDS (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa.

The Aspire – or MTN-020 – trial involved 2,629 women aged between 18 to 45 from Malawi, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Its main results, which were reported earlier this year, found the dapivirine ring reduced the risk of HIV by 27 per cent, meaning that 27 per cent fewer women acquired HIV in the group assigned to use the dapivirine ring than in the group assigned to use a placebo.

The new results, based on additional analyses, suggest the dapivirine ring may be far more effective when used most or all the time, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Microbicide Trials Network.

Vaginal rings are flexible items that fit high up inside the vagina where they release a medication slowly over time. The ring tested as part of Aspire contains 25mg of dapivirine, about 4mg of which gets released over 28 days.

The ring is meant to be used for a month at a time, and women can insert and remove it themselves. The dapivirine ring was developed by the nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM).

Use and adherence was measured using blood tests specifically looking for the presence of the drug in samples from the participants' quarterly visits.

After a year, the amount of residual drug remaining in used rings was also monitored. The analysis presented at AIDS 2016 included 2,359 women and data from more than 12,000 returned rings.

Using this model, researchers identified four different levels of adherence, from non-use to near perfect ring use. The level of HIV protection for those who used the ring most consistently, ranged from 75 per cent in one analysis to 92 per cent in another.

"Adherence to HIV prevention strategies is not always perfect, and we knew that not all women used the ring consistently, so we developed an analysis to explore the degree of HIV protection that was associated with more consistent use," explained Elizabeth Brown from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre and University of Washington in Seattle.

"Across all analyses we saw high adherence was associated with significantly better HIV protection."

While these new results are encouraging, Dr Brown and her colleagues said they are mindful there are limitations, and that further study will be needed to validate the results.

In one such follow-up study, called Hope, former Aspire participants will be given the dapivirine ring in the context of knowing that it is safe and can help prevent HIV. The research will gather additional information on the ring's safety and how women use the ring.

"The timing of these results could not be more perfect. The goal of Hope is to offer women a product shown to be safe and able to provide some protection against HIV.

When we were conducting Aspire, we did not know whether the ring would be effective. Knowing the results of Aspire, it will be a totally new conversation with women in Hope," said Jared Baeten from the University of Washington.

About Us

EDITOR
Denis Gwenzi
United Kingdom
Phone & WhatsApp number +44 7710897502
Email editor@zimnewsnow.com
Twitter @ZimNewsNow

DEPUTY EDITOR
Patience Duncan Dubai (UAE)
Phone & WhatsApp +971 52 980 5692
Email editor@zimnewsnow.com
Twitter @PatienceMDuncan

EDITORIAL CALL/WHATSAPP +44 7710897502
EMAIL editor@zimnewsnow.com

ADVERTISING CALL/WHATSAPP +44 7710897502
EMAIL adverts@zimnewsnow.com

Subscriber Login