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AIDS Conference Hits Halfway Point

Vincent Leclercq of France demonstrates in front of the White House in Washington as the AIDS conference continues in Washington, July 24, 2012.
The International AIDS Conference is reaching its midway point, keeping the focus on prevention and finding an elusive cure.

For some, progress in the battle against AIDS is coming too slowly. And thousands took to the streets of Washington on Tuesday, converging on the White House to make their point.

Inside the conference, researchers have been keeping their focus on programs to help now, including research on a new vaginal ring aimed at keeping women safe.

"Because this product is designed to be replaced once a month, it offers potential to increase the chances that women will continually use the product as opposed to a product that has to be applied in a behaviorally dependent prior to sex way or on a daily basis," explained Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

About 3,500 African women have signed up to take part in the study and hopes are high.

Researchers say giving women tools to protect themselves, without having to rely on their partner, is critical. Half of the more than 34 million people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are women. That percentage rises even higher in hard-hit Africa.