Scientists and doctors from the University of Utah and Northwestern University have developed an intravaginal ring to protect against HIV transmission and are growing increasingly confident it can prevent HIV infection in women.
The small device, when inserted for about a month, successfully delivered a precise amount of the antiretroviral medicine tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, to monkeys in testing.
The ring’s distinctive polymer construction allows it to swell in the presence of fluid, delivering up to 1,000 times more of the drug than current intravaginal devices. The ring offers a sustained delivery method, unlike other methods that requiring daily ingestion of pills or application of topical gel prior to sex, and has been shown to block HIV.
The device will soon be evaluated in human trials, where 60 women will test the product. But don’t toss your condoms just yet, says researcher Patrick F. Kiser, Ph.D (pictured). He says “moving the ring to the market will take several years.”