In South Africa, an estimated 160,000-165,000 people are currently taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce their risk of HIV exposure. However, adherence to an oral PrEP regimen varies across populations, which affects the drug’s efficacy.
Novel long-acting forms of PrEP administration have the potential to increase PrEP adherence significantly, particularly among women at risk of HIV acquisition. In Correlates of Adherence to the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring for HIV-1 Prevention, researchers at RTI International examined specific characteristics of women who adhere to these methods among a population of Sub-Saharan African women.
The study found that women who used long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) were more likely to adhere to the dapivirine ring. This is likely due to their comfort with novel sexual and reproductive health tools and with internal methods for prevention of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
Consistent use of PrEP through oral pills, the vaginal ring, or other methods, is vital to prevent HIV. This study provides important evidence for the implementation of the dapivirine vaginal ring among women living in high HIV-prevalence countries to promote PrEP adherence.
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