Vaginal Ring May Protect Women From HIV: Study - NBC 7 San Diego

Vaginal Ring May Protect Women From HIV: Study

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    Andrew Loxley/International Partnership for Microbicides via AP
    This photo provided by the International Partnership for Microbicides shows a ring that is coated with an anti-AIDS drug designed for women to insert into the vagina once a month to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Researchers say women who inserted a vaginal ring coated with an anti-AIDS drug once a month were partially protected against HIV infection. Two large studies in Africa found the effect was modest, reducing overall HIV infection by about a third. But surprisingly, the ring worked far better in women 25 and older, leaving researchers wondering if younger women who got little to no benefit simply didn’t use the device properly.

    An insertable ring that slowly releases an HIV-fighting drug can cut in half the risk a woman will get infected — if the woman uses it, researchers reported Monday, NBC News reported.

    The results are mixed news for efforts to provide women with a discreet way to protect themselves against the fatal and incurable virus. They show that a product can safely work, but they raise the question of whether people can or will use the product correctly.

    "This is the first demonstration of a sustained-release approach for HIV prevention," Dr. Jared Baeten of the University of Washington, who led one of two studies on the ring, told reporters.

    The vaginal ring reduced the risk of HIV infection by 27 percent on average in more than 2,600 women Baeten's team studied in four hard-hit African countries. But it lowered the risk of infection by 61 percent among women aged 25 and older, the team said in a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine and that will be presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.