Researchers are working on a new vaginal ring, which combines contraception and dapivirine, an antiretroviral drug. The outlook is good, but at least here in uStates, the current political climate could not possibly be worse for a method of contraception which also shields from HIV transmission.
A new vaginal ring containing dapivirine, an antiretroviral drug, as well as a hormonal contraceptive, levonorgestrel, has started its first trial. If all goes according to plan, women will have a single product that shields them from both HIV transmission and unintended pregnancy.
The National Institutes of Health-Funded Microbicide Trials Network is overseeing the Phase I trial, after the multipurpose ring was proven safe in two larger trials called ASPIRE and The Ring Study, each of which tested the durability of monthly dapavirine rings.
However, the newest study, which will be conducted at Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is testing to see if the ring will be able to provide a three-month supply.
The nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides developed the original monthly rings. While the benefits of contraceptive rings have long been known, it wasn’t until women who participated in ASPIRE and The Ring Study expressed the need for a single product providing both a contraceptive and anti-HIV drugs that researchers began moving forward with the idea.