The Dapivirine ring is a microbicide vaginal ring that may be the desperately needed tool for HIV prevention worldwide, as well as the solution for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The ring's third phase of clinical trials is taking place in Africa right now, with the much anticipated results expected in the early months of 2016.
The ring is worn around a woman's cervix and slowly releases dapivirine, a drug that combats HIV. The benefits to this ring do not only lay in its medicinal value, but also in that it is a female-controlled alternative to condoms that can be used covertly. This helps in battling the unfortunate reality that men's regular use of condoms worldwide is only 5% and is especially important in sub-Saharan Africa where rape is not uncommon.
The healthcare community worldwide will be hopefully awaiting the results of this innovative HIV prevention tool. If successful, the rings could be distributed in Africa as early as 2018.
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