Women can now be protected from HIV, herpes and pregnancy with a ring!
A flexible ring inserted into the vagina could offer long-term protection from HIV, herpes and pregnancy. It’s the first device that delivers two drugs for different conditions at the same time and it might help fight the spread of HIV.
Critical to the battle against HIV in low-income countries, this gives women a way to protect themselves should their partner refuse to wear a condom. However, trials of the daily pills that cut the risk of HIV infection have mostly failed, the same for vaginal gels that are used before and after sex. The problem is not that the drugs are not effective, but it is that they aren’t used correctly says Patrick Kiser at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Patrick’s team has developed a vaginal ring as an alternative method of prevention. The ring, made of malleable tube contains two drugs – tenofovir, an anti-HIV drug and levonorgestrel, a contraceptive. The ring that is meant to be inserted into the vagina by the woman can protect her from HIV and pregnancy for up to three months.
Once the ring diffuses into the vagina, both drugs are expected to remain effective for several hours, which means that the ring can be removed temporarily. “We’re hoping to give women something that is easy to use,” says Patrick. “You can put it in and forget about it for a few months. You can have sex while it’s in place or take it out for brief periods of time.”