Good news for the thousands of girls and women in the sub-Saharan Africa region: A new licensing agreement is set to double the continental supply of a game-changing, long-acting HIV prevention tool.
Made of flexible silicone, the dapivirine vaginal ring, or DPV-VR, which slowly releases the antiretroviral drug dapivirine in the vagina over one month, is the first long-acting HIV prevention method that is approved for use in women aged 18 and above. It has been described as an HIV prevention “breakthrough” and is reported to reduce the risk of HIV infection in women by over 50%.
UNAIDS statistics indicate that in 2022, 53% of all people living with HIV were women and girls. In sub-Saharan Africa, girls and young women aged 24 and younger remain one of the most at-risk populations for HIV and AIDS, with infections over three times higher than those of similarly aged boys and young men.