- Study found no safety concern for use of the ring in pregnant women
- Vaginal ring is safe pre –exposure prophylaxis PREP product to prevent HIV/AIDS among both pregnant and lactating mothers.
- Men tend to engage in extra-marital affairs when their wives are pregnant which exposes them to the risk of contracting HIV
UResearchers who conducted a study on the safety of a vaginal ring containing HIV drug Dapivirine say they found no safety concerns among the pregnant Ugandan women on whom the study was conducted.
This now means that the Vaginal ring is safe to be used as a pre –exposure prophylaxis PREP product to prevent HIV/AIDS among both pregnant and lactating mothers.
Dr.Phiona Kibalama Semambo Study coordinator from the Makerere University-John Hopkin University- [MU-JHU] research collaboration; revealed that studies conducted among women with advanced pregnancies (8-9 ) months and those who were 7-8 months pregnant showed no safety concerns.
She made the remarks during the Science Café for Editors organised by the Health Journalist Network in Uganda-HEJNU in Kampala this week. Currently researchers from MU-JHU are following up pregnant women in their early stage of pregnancy; 3-7 months to establish the safety of the vaginal ring.
Dr. Clemencia Nakabitto , Site leader, MU-JHU Care said the risk of women contracting HIV is three times higher when they are pregnant compared to any other time in their lifetime. The chances are even greater when the mother is breastfeeding.
There are concerns that men tend to engage in extra-marital affairs when their wives are pregnant which exposes them to the risk of contracting HIV and passing it on to their unborn babies.
“Researchers designed the dapivirine ring to study its safety and acceptability in pregnant women and lactating women” Dr. Nakabiito stated.
She noted that the ring that is inserted in the vagina and pushed up to the cervical opening is one of the new methods which gives the woman total control when it comes to prevention of HIV.
Dr. Phionah Kibalama told the media in Kampala that the ring contains a drug called dapiverine that stops the mutation of the HIV virus to take the shape of a human DNA that enables the virus to get into the Human body.
The round shaped silicone ring has to stay inside the vagina for a period of a month, after which it is replaced by the user.
Researchers are now waiting for the approval of the National Drug Authority, and Uganda's ministry of Health to make the ring available, to start rolling it out for the target population; pregnant and lactating mothers to use.