The SRHR Africa Trust (SAT) says they are still waiting for the Government to approve the use of Dapivirine Vaginal Ring as HIV prevention method for women.
SAT Country Director Robert Mangwazu Phiri revealed this during the media engagement on new HIV prevention options meeting including the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring held on Friday in Lilongwe.
He said despite other countries in the Southern Africa approving the use of the Dapivirine Ring, Malawi is yet to give go ahead to it’s use.
“Currently the Malawi Pharmacy Regulatory Authority had already given the approval for this particular product but as you know most of these products need to be owned by policing orders and this case the department of HIV is very critical to make decision on a product that will be used for HIV prevention so we still engaging but the Government has its own reservation and we hope they are still looking at other options, the cost implications and how to roll out the product, but we are yet to get to the bottom line as to why there’s that delay for Malawi because other countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa are utilizing this product” Said Mangwazu Phiri
On its importance, Mangwazu said the ring is very essential as women can wear it without the knowledge of men who would want forced unprotected sex as it’s designed to provide women with discreet and long-acting option for HIV prevention.
Studies in Africa said all the study phases have indicated that the ring was safe and the phase III clinical trials did not indicate ARV resistance associated with use of the Dapivirine Ring, or interference with antiretroviral therapy (ART) effectiveness in those women who became HIV-positive whole participating in the trials
Zimbabwe was the first country in the world to approve use of the ring seconded by South Africa. Other countries pursuing the ring method include Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda and others.
The Dapivirine Vaginal Ring is a flexible, silicone ring that a woman can insert in the vagina for monthly protection against HIV. The ring is designed to provide women with a discreet and long-acting option for HIV prevention. It contains the anti-retroviral drug dapivirine, which is released slowly to reduce the risk of HIV infection locally in the vagina with few effects elsewhere in the body.