Facts about dapivirine ring that reduces risk of HIV infection

Two controlled trials found that using the DPV-VR reduced the risk of HIV infection in women and long-term use was well-tolerated.

Dapivirine Vaginal_Ring
Image: Commons Wikimedia

There is a new HIV prevention tool called Dapivirine. The tool which comes in the form of a white ring has been creating buzz online for the claim that it can reduce the risk of a woman getting HIV during vaginal intercourse.

So what are the facts? Is this true? Let's go to one of the world's most trusted sources, The World Health Organisation for accurate information. Let's begin below;

For women who are significantly at risk of contracting HIV, it might be provided as an additional preventative option as part of a combined prevention strategy.

The ring needs to be placed inside the vagina for 28 days in order to function effectively, following which it needs to be changed out for a fresh one.

The silicone ring is flexible and simple to bend and install. The antiviral medicine Dapivirine is progressively released from the ring over the course of 28 days, which is how the ring works.

The DPV-VR was proven to be well tolerated for long-term usage and to lower the risk of HIV infection in women in two controlled trials.

In women taking DPV-VR, the Ring trial found a 35% reduction in HIV risk, and the ASPIRE trial found a 27% reduction in risk.

In addition to other safer sex practises, the DPV-VR is designed to lower the risk of contracting HIV during vaginal intercourse for women who are at substantial risk for the virus.

For women who do not want to or cannot take a daily oral tablet of PrEP, it can be administered alongside oral PrEP as an alternative.

The DPV-VR is the first vaginal HIV prevention product, despite the fact that vaginal contraceptive rings have been around for a while.

A vaginal ring that offers both contraception and HIV prevention is currently being researched.

The DPV-VR has been a part of the WHO's prequalification list of medications since November 2020.

Based on a thorough examination and meta-analysis of the available scientific information, the WHO Guideline Development Group determined that the DPV-VR has more advantages than disadvantages.

The WHO emphasises the importance of offering additional HIV prevention options, STI diagnosis and treatment, the offer of voluntary partner services, HIV testing, and referrals to antiretroviral therapy for all women who test positive, as well as a variety of contraceptive methods, in addition to HIV prevention services for women.