Home Headlines 11 African countries approve innovative HIV prevention tools for women

11 African countries approve innovative HIV prevention tools for women

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HIV -AIDS

Eleven sub-Saharan African countries have approved the use of the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring (DVR), an innovative HIV prevention tool, as the fight against the virus gains momentum, the Population Council, an international health charity, said here on Thursday.

The east and southern African regions, represented by these 11 countries, namely Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have granted regulatory approvals or import authorizations to enhance access to DVR for adult females at risk of contracting the AIDS virus, said a statement released ahead of World AIDS Day, scheduled to be observed on Friday.

The Population Council said that the ring is presently available to women through more than 30 implementation and pilot studies across six countries, including Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Designed as a long-acting HIV prevention tool for women aged 18 years and above, the DVR has shown a positive safety profile and is suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women who require additional means to protect against the virus.

Jim Sailer, the Population Council’s interim co-president, noted the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on females in Africa, urged the rapid deployment of DVR to curb new infections. “Women deserve multiple options to shield themselves from this lifelong disease,” Sailer said, highlighting that ending the AIDS pandemic by 2030 is crucial for Africa’s sustainability agenda.

According to data from the World Health Organization, young women aged 24 and below face three times higher risk of contracting the AIDS virus compared to men within the same age bracket.

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