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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

AVAC enthusiastically welcomes the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (SAHPRA) approval of the monthly Dapivirine Vaginal Ring for use by women ages 18 and older to reduce their HIV risk.

March 11, 2022
What We're Reading

If you bring your index finger to your thumb then make a circle, that’s about how small this silicone ring is. Its size is tiny but its impact enormous, which is why SAHPRA’s decision to give South Africa the regulatory go-ahead to make the dapivirine vaginal ring (DVR) available monthly to women 18 and older has been lauded by women’s health and reproductive rights advocates as seismic.

March 18, 2022

When given a choice of two proven HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) options, young cisgender women will use both but prefer a monthly vaginal ring, according to data presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections 2022 (CROI 2022).

March 4, 2022

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
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