Microbicides for women could come in many forms, such as vaginal rings, tablets or films. New self-initiated microbicide products can be used discreetly, giving women who may not be able to discuss HIV prevention options with their partners the ability to protect their own health.
Meeting Women's Needs
Products Women Can and Will Use
Because there will be no single solution to stopping HIV, having multiple prevention options is not simply a best-case scenario, it is the only scenario that can end the epidemic. This is especially true for women, who bear the brunt of the epidemic.
IPM has focused on investigating delivery mechanisms that are “coitally independent,” meaning the microbicide could be applied once a day or even less frequently, independent of the time of sex.
Our most clinically advanced formulation is a long-acting vaginal ring that slowly releases the ARV dapivirine over the course of a month.
We undertake each formulation project with the needs and expectations of women in mind, based on the preferences they express in qualitative studies.
Product Acceptability Studies
To assess the acceptability of different microbicides, IPM conducts product acceptability studies in which women use and evaluate a variety of dosage forms from daily vaginal films and gels to monthly vaginal rings.
These studies help to inform IPM and other product developers on the product characteristics women prefer, and serve to guide the drug development process, because a product will be effective only if it is used consistently.
To ensure future microbicide products will be widely available and accessible after approvals from in-country regulatory authorities, IPM also works to minimize manufacturing costs and analyze the product's stability in a range of different climates.