HIV prevention study under way

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In a groundbreaking study, a Cape Town-based NGO – International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) – is testing whether a microbicide vaginal ring which slowly releases the ARV drug dapivirine can prevent HIV infection.

The ring study, which has just started in South Africa, will see the technology tested on more than 1 600 women in SA, Malawi and Rwanda.

The ring, which is designed to stay in a woman’s body for a month, will be tested on women between the ages of 18 and 45.

“The ring study presents an important technological advancement. The ring might provide protection not only because of the active drug, but also because women only need to put the ring in once a month so it stays in the body and could offer protection throughout this time,” Dr Zeda Rosenberg, CEO at IPM said.

Rosenberg said of the 1 650 participants, 1 110 would be on the ring that contained dapivirine while 550 would be in the placebo group.

The study is expected to be completed in 2015. - Cape Argus

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