A critical option to expand choice

microbicide iconMicrobicides are user-controlled,  often site-specific products, which offer  discreet and easy-to-use tools to address  unmet prevention needs.

The term “microbicide” refers to substances that could be used in the vagina or the rectum to reduce the risk of HIV infection through sexual exposure. Microbicides can contain antiretrovirals (ARVs) or non-ARV-based products. They can be used discreetly and they work to prevent infection directly at the site of exposure (the rectum or vagina).

Currently, one microbicide product has been approved for use, the dapivirine vaginal ring (DVR). Others are in early phases of clinical research.

Microbicides Role in HIV Prevention: User-controlled, short-acting options

For some individuals, topical products that can be applied or used around the time of sex and provide protection to a part of the body exposed to HIV may be preferable to pills or injections, which provide systemic protection. Microbicides offer a “user-controlled” option, one that empowers people to protect themselves without relying on healthcare workers to insert or remove a device, as other products in the R&D pipeline do.

Access to Microbicides

The dapivirine vaginal ring (DVR) is a proven option that offers user-controlled protection. It has been approved in several countries and is undergoing regulatory review in many others. But scaling up access to DVR will require extensive planning, funding commitments, stakeholder engagement and political will. Advocates and trial participants from the studies that showed DVR’s efficacy are calling for accelerated coordination and concrete commitments to ensure the ring is available for people who want it. 

The Research Pipeline for Microbicide Products

For details on the microbicide products in development check out the pipeline on our multipurpose technologies (MPTs) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pages. 

Advocacy for Microbicides 

Long-acting, systemic products, such as injectable CAB for PrEP, which is administered every two months, can not be seen as a silver bullet to HIV prevention. Overlooking other key products, like microbicides, will mean missing the needs of critical populations. We need choices — including microbicides, PrEP and vaccines — so people can choose the HIV prevention method they prefer and that will meet their current needs. 

Track the Research

HIV Prevention Research & Development Database (PxRD)

The database allows users to view clinical trials around the world, gaining an understanding of the many developments currently being made in the field of HIV prevention research.

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