In the Era of Daily PrEP, Feds May Stop Research Funding Gels, Rings, and Douches for HIV Prevention

Consider this the story of the ring and the douche.

First, the ring: It's actually a small plastic ring filled with the anti-HIV drug dapivirine that can be inserted into the vagina, and needs replacing only once a month. Thus, women and transguys don't have to ask their partners to wear a condom during sex to prevent HIV.

In two major trials of more than 4,500 African women, the ring reduced HIV infections by 27 and 31 percent overall, respectively. In the first study, it reduced infections by 61 percent among women over 25 and 56 percent among women over 21, while the other showed a reduction of 27 percent among women over 21. (Those numbers may not sound that impressive, but these were also standard "double blind" trials in which the women didn't know for sure if they were getting the drug or a placebo -- an uncertainty which can reduce participation and thus overall effectiveness rates.)

Assuming that European and African regulators approve the ring within the next few months, distribution throughout Africa could commence soon after.

Then there's the douche. In very early stages of development, it's a solution that anyone who plays the anally receptive partner during sex would use just as they would regularly douche before sex, except that it has tenofovir in it (one of two drugs in the HIV pill Truvada, which is used for pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP). It would protect against HIV for a set amount of time -- not continually, as Truvada does when taken daily.

But that also means that users would not be continually exposed to the drug's possible side effects, which would be a plus. Read more via the Body