Women in Africa can soon feel more empowered when it comes to HIV prevention, in a country where HIV cases are the highest in the world. In some areas of the country, up to 50% of the population is infected, while many men in it’s patriarchal society refuse to wear condoms. To the rescue is a small, flexible vaginal ring that cannot be felt by either partner.
A study focused on Africa found that the vaginal ring, coated with an antiretroviral drug, helped cut down on HIV by about 30%. It doesn’t stop the disease from happening, but at least it will stop some women from contracting it.
In one study, of 2,629 women aged 18-45 from South Africa, Uganda, and Malawi, the risk of transmission of the virus was reduced by 27 percent. In a second study, which involved 1,959 women in South Africa and Uganda, it was reduced by 31 percent, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Coated with Dapivirine , the device is inserted in a woman’s hoo ha and replaced every month. Further studies are planned, which will study if the percentages improve when a stronger amount of the anti-viral is used. When approved, which will take a year or so, the ring will cost about $5.00.
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