Vaginal Ring May Protect Women From HIV: Study

Vaginal Ring HIV
Andrew Loxley/International Partnership for Microbicides via AP

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.

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