Preliminary Trial Results Could Offer Women a New HIV Prevention Option

7 March 2018

Mid-way results from from two studies show that a vaginal ring releasing long-acting antiretroviral medicine to prevent HIV is up to 54% effective in preventing HIV infections among women. The ring, which is replaced monthly, slowly releases the antiretroviral medicine dapivirine and could give women an additional HIV prevention option that is discreet and that they can control.

“These results are significant,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Structural, behavioural and biological factors make women more vulnerable to HIV infection, so it is extremely important that they have the opportunity to protect themselves from HIV, on their own terms.”

The interim results are from two large open-label studies—studies in which the participants know which medicine is being used; that is, no placebo is used—conducted in South Africa and Uganda. The trails enrolled women between the ages of 20 and 50 years.

The HOPE trial, which began in August 2016 and enrolled more than 1400 women by October 2017—the time of the interim review—found a 54% reduction in HIV risk. This means that the rate of new HIV infections was 1.9 women newly infected for every 100 participants in a given year; based on statistical modelling, the researchers determined that the rate of new infections would have been 4.1 for every 100 had the women not been offered the ring. The DREAM trial, which enrolled 940 women from July 2016, had similar findings, with a 54% reduction in the HIV incidence rate. The final results from both studies are expected in 2019.

Read the full article online here.