New Vaginal Ring May Prevent HIV Infection And Pregnancy

Remembering to take birth control pills every day at the same time can be a hassle. Buying condoms adds another thing to our pages-long to-do list. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an effective birth control and STD-preventative in one? Dr. Brij Saxena, a reproductive biology and endocrinology professor at the Weill Cornell Medical College, has developed a vaginal ring that may prevent sexually transmitted HIV and unintended pregnancy because it releases several types of non-hormonal agents and microbicides. The device has proven to prevent HIV infection in laboratory trials, Saxena said, and it could give women the power to protect themselves effectively and conveniently from an unintended pregnancy and HIV, if future clinical trials are successful. Dr. Jeffrey Laurence, co-author of the study and attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said a viral epidemic has never been stamped out by treatment, so an HIV vaccine is an ideal prevention method, but isn’t foreseeable in the near future. “The next best thing,” Laurence said, “would be something that would prevent infection and put the power in the susceptible female partner’s control.”

The vaginally-inserted ring contains multiple HIV infection-preventing antiviral drugs that are released over a period of 28 days, along with substances that prevent pregnancy by arresting sperm movement, increasing vaginal mucous, and maintaining the acidity of the vagina, which creates a hostile environment for sperm cells. The compounds in the vaginal ring are natural materials that the Food and Drug Administration has already approved. [The Times of India]

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