Vaginal Ring Containing Antiretroviral Reduced HIV Incidence By About 30% Among African Women In 2 Studies

News outlets report on two HIV prevention studies presented Monday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston

Agence France-Presse: Vaginal ring cuts HIV risk by nearly one-third: studies
“A monthly vaginal ring that contains an antiretroviral drug has been shown to cut the risk of HIV infection in women by nearly one-third, according to two international studies Monday…” (Sheridan, 2/22).

Associated Press: Study finds anti-AIDS vaginal ring partially protects women
“…The ring proved safe although the protection was modest, reducing overall HIV infection by less than a third. Surprisingly, the ring worked far better in women 25 and older, leaving researchers wondering if the youngest women, who got little to no benefit, simply didn’t use the device properly…” (Neergaard, 2/22).

New York Times: Vaginal Ring With Drug Lowers HIV Rates in African Women
“…But researchers said that the device was still a major advance and that the results were the most promising to date in HIV prevention for African women. They said they would press ahead to get the ring approved and widely distributed as quickly as possible…” (Grady, 2/22).

Reuters Health: Drug-coated ring cuts HIV risk by more than half in some women
“…Results of the study, known as ASPIRE, were presented Monday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. Results were also published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. Findings from a second test of the device, known as The Ring Study, were also to be presented; it found a 37 percent reduction in women over 21, according to a news release from the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), the nonprofit organization that developed the ring…” (Emery, 2/22).

Science: Drug-laced vaginal ring succeeds against HIV — sometimes
“…The ring, a silicon band that releases an experimental antiretroviral called dapivirine, was tested in South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe among 18- to 45-year-olds. The ASPIRE trial found 27 percent efficacy overall, while the second trial — called The Ring Study — found a 31 percent efficacy. But the ring didn’t do nearly as much for women aged 18 to 21, conferring a mere 15 percent protection in The Ring Study and had none whatsoever in the ASPIRE trial. In women over 21, however, efficacy hit 56 percent in ASPIRE; The Ring Study showed 37 percent protection in the older group…” (Cohen, 2/22).

USA TODAY: Study: Vaginal ring reduces HIV infection in women
“…Researchers have been eager to give women a way to reduce their risk of HIV. Many women, especially those in developing countries with the highest HIV rates, are unable to persuade men to use condoms, said Zeda Rosenberg, founding chief executive officer of the International Partnership for Microbicides…” (Szabo, 2/22).

U.S. News & World Report: Vaginal Ring May Help Prevent HIV Transmission
“… ‘Women need a discreet, long-acting form of HIV prevention that they control and want to use,’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the clinical trials…” (Leonard, 2/22).

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