Scientists have developed a "potentially revolutionary device" that could allow women to protect themselves from contracting HIV from an HIV-positive sex partner, the Newark Star-Ledger
reports. The device -- a flexible, slender 2.3-inch-wide intravaginal ring that time-releases anti-HIV drugs -- is inserted near the cervix similar to a diaphragm and could be worn continuously for six to 12 months. In acceptability tests, most users said that the device, once in place, could not be detected by either partner. The ring is being jointly developed by the International Partnership for Microbicides
, whose research is being partially funded by a $110 million donation made last year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
, and a team of 10 researchers led by Karl Malcolm, a chemist at Queen's University in Belfast, in conjunction with researchers at drug makers Janssen Pharmaceutica
. Unpublished research on the ring was introduced at the 30th Annual Meeting & Exposition of the Controlled Release Society
that began yesterday in Glasgow, Scotland. Researchers plan to test the ring in monkeys over the next 18 months to determine its effectiveness against HIV and will perform small human trials to test the device's safety. If successful, the trials will be expanded to hundreds or thousands of women. Researchers are seeking $40 to $60 million in funding for the trials from charitable organizations and the pharmaceutical industry. Robin Shattock, director of the research and advisory council for International Partnership for Microbicides, said, "At the moment, many women in the developing world have no choice about preventing infection. The whole concept is to empower women and provide them with some measure of providing protection [against HIV]" (MacPherson, Newark Star-Ledger
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Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.