JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
PITTSBURGH - 15 July 2021
Adolescent girls and young women can and will use HIV prevention products with consistency, according to interim results of a study of two different methods: daily use of the antiretroviral (ARV) tablet Truvada® as oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and the monthly dapivirine vaginal ring, a new HIV prevention product currently under regulatory review in several countries.
To provide protection against HIV, both must be used consistently– daily, for oral PrEP, and for the ring, a full month at a time – which previous studies of these products found to be especially challenging for younger women.
This was not the case in an ongoing study, known as REACH (Reversing the Epidemic in Africa with Choices in HIV prevention), being conducted at four clinical research sites in Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe by the National Institutes of Health-funded Microbicide Trials Network (MTN). The vast majority (97 percent) of the study’s 247 participants, who were between the ages of 16 and 21 when they enrolled, used the vaginal ring and daily oral PrEP some or all of the time. Fewer than three percent of participants used neither of the products, according to laboratory tests for adherence.
These and other results from the study’s first two periods, during which participants were asked to use each of the products for six months, are being reported at IAS 2021 – the 11th IAS Conference on HIV Science – taking place virtually from 18-21 July, and were featured in an official IAS press conference today.
Both approaches received high marks from the study’s participants: during the six months they were asked to use the monthly dapivirine ring, 88 percent said they liked it, and during the period when they were assigned to use oral PrEP, 64 percent said they liked the daily pill-taking regimen.
The research team attributes the study’s findings of high product adherence and acceptability to the ongoing support measures, tailored for this population, and nonjudgmental counseling approach provided as part of the study.
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Dr. Nair will be presenting Adherence to the dapivirine vaginal ring and oral PrEP among adolescent girls and young women in Africa: Interim results from the REACH study (Abstract OALC01LB01) during the Session, Track C late breaker abstracts, on Tuesday, 20 July, from 12:00-12:50 (CEST) / 6-6:50 a.m. (EDT). For more information about IAS 2021, please go to www.ias2021.org.
MTN and the REACH study are supported by U.S. National Institutes of Health grants UM1AI068633, UM1AI068615 and UM1AI106707.
The study products for REACH were provided by the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) and Gilead Sciences.
More information about REACH is at mtnstopshiv.org/reach-study and www.mtnstopshiv.org/news/studies/mtn034,. To learn more about the monthly dapivirine ring, visit https://www.ipmglobal.org/
About the Microbicide Trials Network
The Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) is an HIV/AIDS clinical trials network established in 2006 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with co-funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health, all components of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Based at Magee-Womens Research Institute and the University of Pittsburgh, the MTN brings together international investigators and community and industry partners whose work is focused on the rigorous evaluation of promising microbicides – products applied inside the vagina or rectum that are intended to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV – from the earliest phases of clinical study to large-scale trials that support potential licensure of these products for widespread use. More information about the MTN is available at www.mtnstopshiv.org/.
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