Microbicides: Giving Women Power Over HIV/AIDS

Safe and effective microbicides like a monthly vaginal ring or a single-use film or tablet would address a central gaps in current HIV prevention strategies: the need for a discreet tool that women can use to take charge of their own health and protect themselves from infection.

Empowering Women With HIV Prevention Tools

Research shows that antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can prevent HIV when used consistently. ARV-based microbicides may offer women protection against HIV infection and potentially save millions of lives.

These products are based on the same types of ARVs now used to successfully treat HIV/AIDS and prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Complementing Existing Strategies

Microbicides would specifically address the needs of women in some of the world’s most at-risk areas and expand the HIV prevention toolkit by complementing existing methods.

These include safe-sex education, behavior change, male and female condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision, oral ARV pills where they are approved for use (known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP), and safe blood supplies.

Protecting Women, Protecting Families

Because there will be no single solution to stopping HIV, having multiple prevent options is not simply a best-case scenario, it is the only scenario that can end the epidemic. Development of safe and effective microbicides would expand the range of prevention options for women and amplify the public health impact of other prevention methods.

Ultimately, this is good news for everyone, because improving women’s sexual and reproductive health means women can lead healthier, more productive lives, which benefits their families and communities, too.