An intravaginal ring that slowly releases an antiretroviral drug and a contraceptive has the potential to protect women from HIV, herpes and unwanted pregnancy.
The ring is designed to remain in place for three months, delivering controlled doses of the medicines, which are already used for contraception and preventing HIV infection. By replacing high-dose pills that must be taken daily, researchers hope the device will increase adherence to the medical regimen.
The intravaginal ring was developed over five years at Northwestern University by biomedical engineer Patrick Kiser and his colleagues. Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, Kiser said the team expected that women would use the ring primarily for contraception, but noted that they would also benefit from protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
The easy-to-use device is being manufactured now and will soon be tested in women.