Women can now buy vaginal ring at a pharmacy

Monday November 27 2023

A woman holds a diaphragm of a vaginal contraceptive ring. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


The dapivirine vaginal ring, DapiRing, will be available to women in East and Southern Africa after its market introduction.

This user-controlled vaginal ring is designed to reduce the risk of HIV infection during vaginal sex.

According to the Population Council, the ring has obtained regulatory approvals in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and available through national import licences in Eswatini and Lesotho.

IPM South Africa NPC, an affiliate of the Population Council, has been issued a 15-month (Transition to Scale Phase 2 award from Grand Challenges Canada) to support the market introduction of the DapiRing for women in Southern and East Africa. Already, 113,000 rings had been sold in these countries, as of September 2023, said the Population Council last week.

Read: South Africa to roll out vaginal rings to fight HIV scourge

End-user awareness


This ring, made of flexible silicone, is inserted in the vagina by the user and provides protection against HIV infection for a month. In 2020, the DapiRing was endorsed by the European Medicines Agency for use among women aged 18 years and older. Furthermore, in 2021, the WHO included the DapiRing in its HIV guidelines.

The funding will support the ongoing market introduction of the DapiRing.

With this support, IPM South Africa will conduct stakeholder education sessions in Rwanda and Botswana to gather end-user market insights. These sessions will engage healthcare providers and aim to refine educational tools for end-users.

Read: Slow dissolving, longer-acting HIV prevention method in the pipeline

Additionally, IPM South Africa will develop end-user materials tailored to the local contexts of these countries.

These resources will be made available to ministries of health, technical working groups, healthcare providers, and end-users to increase awareness and adoption of prevention products. Moreover, the activities supported by this funding will enhance healthcare providers' knowledge of biomedical HIV prevention and multipurpose prevention technology products, as well as their ability to prescribe these products.

The DapiRing is one of the key assets acquired by the Population Council from the International Partnership for Microbicides in 2022.

The Population Council Center for Biomedical Research and IPM South Africa collaborate to support activities related to the full lifecycle of product development.