Hundreds more join anti-Aids ‘Dream’

2017-06-21 06:03

WITH South Africa’s 8th Aids conference in full swing at the Durban ICC, a new study on the dapivirine vaginal ring has been announced.

The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) said at the conference yesterday that 600 more women between the ages of 18 to 25 have been introduced into the study, called Dream, which is providing access to the dapivirine vaginal ring.

During the International Aids Conference last year, the organisation announced they had made “momentous progress” in clinical trials in Edendale in the reduction of HIV infection rates among women.

An article published by The
Witness
last year said MatCH
Research, a division of the Wits Health Consortium based in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, saw the clinical trials reduce HIV infection rates among women.

The ring is inserted into the
vagina, where it remains for 28 days and slowly releases the ARV.

The study released last year was based on research from trials among 1 959 women from South Africa and Uganda, and showed the dapivirine ring reduced HIV infection by 31%.

Similar results were obtained using the ring in trials led by the Microbicide Trials Network.

The 600 new women introduced to the study will join the other participants and help create “valuable insights” into the HIV prevention needs of both the youngest and slightly older women who are at high risk.

IPM chief medical officer Dr Annalene Nel said in the statement released yesterday that “women must be a major focus for HIV prevention interventions because they face the highest risk”.

Edendale MatCH Research Unit (MRU) researcher Zonke Madube said in the statement that uMgungundlovu­ had the highest prevalence of HIV in the district, which is the highest in the province.

“These are not just statistics for us.

“We are immersed in the community and travel the journey with the women as they face daily struggles,” she said.

IPM is preparing a dossier of clinical and scientific data for submission to medicines regulatory authorities in Africa and globally and only upon receipt of in-country approval would the ring be approved for public use.

“Because we know the dapivirine ring can help reduce HIV risk, it is so important that we empower women with access to it while decisions are being made by medicines regulatory authorities on its licensure,” said Nel.

— Witness Reporter.

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