A New Way to Prevent HIV Using Silicone Vaginal Rings

Silicone vaginal rings offer an easy and effective way of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, for women. Researchers in France have developed a silicone ring that delivers a slow, continuous stream of antiviral drugs, according to a study presented at ICAAC/ICC 2015 in San Diego.

Based on the study's preliminary results , the rings can release 3 to 5 mg per day of tenofovir (Viread) for a period of time of at least 50 days. The rings can also release 1.5 to 3.5 mg per day of acyclovir, a common herpes simplex (HSV) medication. Both doses can neutralize HIV and HSV present in semen, the study reports.

"The aim of our study was to develop a vaginal silicone ring that was nontoxic to the health of users but was capable of delivering multiple active antiviral molecules against various STIs including HIV for a long duration," said study author Meriam Memmi, Ph.D. candidate at Jean Monnet University in the the study press release.

The rings offer a way for women to take control of HIV prevention, particularly in situations where men control the use of condoms and circumcision. The next step is for the rings to be produced at a high rate and low cost for further study in clinical trials.

Watch Memmi discuss the study results: