South Africa to Launch Innovative HIV Prevention Vaginal Ring – Global Fund to Fight AIDS announces the introduction of a groundbreaking HIV prevention method in South Africa, a nation heavily impacted by AIDS.
Three prominent organizations dedicated to AIDS prevention in South Africa have placed orders for 16,000 dapivirine-infused vaginal rings, with plans for availability in the coming months, reports the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Inspired by contraceptive rings, this silicone vaginal ring gradually releases the antiretroviral drug dapivirine and requires monthly replacement.
The Global Fund’s Executive Director, Peter Sands, believes this novel approach could revolutionize HIV prevention.
The dapivirine ring offers an alternative to existing preventive methods like daily pills or monthly injections, which may not suit all individuals targeted by South African prevention programs.
Ntombenhle Mkhize, President of the Aids Foundation of South Africa, emphasizes the importance of offering women a variety of safe and effective options.
By 2023, women and adolescent girls are projected to account for 53% of global HIV infections, according to UNAIDS.
South Africa continues to grapple with a 13.7% HIV-positive population, one of the world’s highest rates.
However, over 5.4 million of an estimated 8.2 million infected individuals receive antiretroviral treatment, marking one of the world’s largest HIV treatment programs and significantly reducing mortality.
Recent clinical trials endorsed by the World Health Organization have demonstrated that the dapivirine vaginal ring can reduce the risk of seroconversion (from HIV-negative to HIV-positive) by 35%.
The Global Fund hopes that other countries will follow South Africa’s lead in adopting this innovative prevention method.
In addition to South Africa, the dapivirine ring has received approval and been introduced in several other African nations, including Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.