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South Africa to prevent HIV with dapivirine vaginal rings

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South Africa is set to introduce vaginal rings containing the antiretroviral drug Dapivirine to prevent HIV transmission in women.

The news comes after global HIV infection-fighting partnership the Global Fund ordered an initial batch of 16,000 rings to increase treatment access and provide a potential answer to stigma and drug usage issues.

Almost eight million people in South Africa live with HIV, a concentration that has seen initiatives to improve prevention and testing measures as well as ARV drug distribution.

The Dapivirine Vaginal Ring 25 mg is a type of silicone ring that is placed inside the vagina and gradually releases a drug called dapivirine, which is an antiviral medication, for one month.

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At the end of this period, the ring must be removed and immediately replaced with a new ring for continued protection.

The dapivirine vaginal ring has been called a “game changer” in the fight against HIV, particularly in places where women have limited control over their sexual health.

Some women might not be comfortable asking their partners to use a condom or negotiating other forms of protection, so the ring gives them a discreet, self-initiated prevention method.

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The ring’s development and approval have been hailed as a major milestone for women’s health, as it provides an alternative to daily pills and monthly injections.

The ring has also undergone extensive testing to ensure its safety and efficacy, with clinical trials showing high rates of adherence among participants.

While the ring is not 100% effective, it has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission when used consistently and correctly.

And given the magnitude of the HIV epidemic in places like South Africa, even a modest reduction in transmission rates could make a huge difference.

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The rollout of the vaginal rings is part of a larger movement toward “combination prevention,” which involves using various strategies to prevent HIV transmission.

This includes things like condom use, HIV testing and treatment, and education and empowerment programs for women.

Combination prevention has been identified as a key priority by global organizations such as UNAIDS, which has set a target of reducing new HIV infections to fewer than 500,000 a year by 2020.

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