Posted on September 22, 2017

In the global fight to control the spread of HIV and address birth control to help women in countries that are experiencing overpopulation and reduced quality of life for both women and children, there is a new trial involving a vaginal ring that acts as both a contraceptive and releases an anti-HIV drug 

Researchers have been battling the spread of HIV in many countries with special attention on those that involve high pregnancy rates due to lack of proper contraception. The Gates Foundation made a $140 million investment in January of 2017 for the testing of a new implant that can act as a contraception method while it delivers anti-HIV medication inside the body. This new vaginal contraceptive ring assists women so that they can avoid unwanted pregnancies and therefore also empower them to be in charge of and have quality lives. Previous tests showed results that eliminated the HIV gene from a 2016 test process involving animals and researchers then found that a natural immune defense developed in nearing ten percent of the children that had been HIV infected.  

One of the most critical aspects of life for women in many countries is their ability to have access to contraception. Studies have shown that women that can be in charge of family planning can improve the quality of life for themselves and their children, empowering them to continued education and even enhanced job opportunities. Many of these same countries exist in a condition where women are infected with HIV through no fault of their own, as their spouses have contracted the disease. In the case of pregnancy, both the mother and child become HIV positive. It becomes a never ending cycle of disease and death, without end.  

In countries such as Thailand and the U.K., improved online access to information regarding anti-HIV medications has contributed to a significant reduction in the actual infection rates of HIV. Thailand has become the first nation around the globe to eliminate HIV transmissions to newborn infants. Fighting HIV that may be hidden and dormant inside cells did have a level of success as the medical community found the recovery of the “Berlin Patient” who beat the odds when contracting HIV due to complications from a transplant.  

The priority of addressing accessible contraception, combined with the ability to combat HIV is paramount in so many communities and countries in the world. The vaginal ring can act as a permanent solution for prevention of both situations, allowing the ‘HIV cycle’ to be curtailed while offering the choices and opportunities for women and their families.  

As additional research and study expands and the results of using this new device offering both contraception and dispersal of anti-HIV medication occurs, the results should bring about a turn-around in both the battle against unwanted pregnancies and the HIV infectious rates. Access to the availability of this type of device is one of the goals of The Gates Foundation so that women everywhere can maintain quality lives for themselves and their families, without the fear of death due to HIV infection.

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