Vaginal ring may help prevent HIV
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It's important for individuals to practice safer sex, since using a condom is the only way to prevent against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV, other than abstaining from sexual activity. However, in recent years, researchers have been working to come up with different ways to prevent the spread of HIV through pills and other methods. For example, researchers from CONRAD and the University of Utah recently announced that they have created a 90-day intravaginal ring to reduce a woman's chances of contracting HIV.
The ring releases doses of the drug tenfovir, which is used by people with HIV to prevent the virus from spreading in the immune system. Now, researchers are hoping that this ring will help prevent the transmission of the disease during sex. According to the scientists, the initial results of the study have been positive.
"Most vaginal rings release a limited quantity of drug each day, but this ring can release quantities 1,000 times larger due to the selection of specific hydrophilic polymers with high permeability," said researcher David Friend, Ph.D., "This study showed that the ring releases at least 10 mg of tenofovir a day over 90 days, which makes it very possible that it can be effective in preventing HIV infection in women."
This is an important study, since a great deal of research on preventing the spread of HIV has been focused on men who have sex with men, rather than women.
In 2013, the researchers hope to use this ring in a clinical trial to determine its effectiveness.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 percent of people in American living with HIV are women. Women may, in some cases, have a greater risk of contracting this virus since the vagina has a larger area than the penis that can be exposed to HIV.
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