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Vaginal Ring Reduces HIV Infection African Women



The first decade of the HIV epidemic was a gruesome horror show of human bodies wasting away. Then, miraculously, succeeding waves of new drugs added flesh to withered bodies that arose like Lazarus from the near dead. HIV infection quickly became a treatable, manageable chronic disease.
HIV prevention, on the other hand, has been a far slower, incremental and less successful endeavor. The most recent step of progress is something called a dapivirine ring. The concept is simple: Women use a silicone elastomer vaginal matrix ring that dispenses an anti-HIV drug—similar to ones used to dispense birth control hormones—and are protected from HIV infection for a month.
According to researchers who tested the ring on more than 4,500 African women between the ages of 18 and 45, the concept works. Women who used the ring were 27 percent less likely to become infected with the HIV virus, according to data presented last Monday at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimates that at the end of 2014, 36.9 million people were infected with HIV worldwide, most of whom live in developing countries. Women are more likely than men to be infected with the virus in sub-Saharan Africa where they constitute 58 percent of all people living with HIV.

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