Creating a diverse range of HIV prevention products for women

MATRIX: Advancing the Research and Development of Innovative HIV Prevention Products for Women is a USAID-funded North-South partnership aimed at developing  a new range of HIV prevention products for women that are acceptable, affordable, scalable and deliverable in the settings where they are most needed.


Launched in 2021, MATRIX, short for the Microbicide Research and Development to Advance HIV Prevention Technologies through Responsive Innovation and Excellence, is a $125 million five-year cooperative agreement, established through the generous support of the American people through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The project strengthens local scientific capacity and increases HIV prevention options for women to offer them a range of choices and to meet women’s varied needs over their lifetime.

About This Project

MATRIX is a consortium of 19 partner organizations from Africa and North America working together to align product characteristics with the needs of women and other stakeholders early in the development process. The project conducts early-phase clinical trials in sub- Saharan Africa and recognizes and strengthens the research and development capacity of African researchers to facilitate full and sustainable ownership of the work into the future. 

MATRIX’s partner organizations have expertise across multiple fields, including drug formulation, drug delivery and product development; clinical trials design and implementation; human- centered design and socio-behavioral research; market strategy and business case development; capacity strengthening; and stakeholder engagement.

AVAC supports the projects’ efforts to ensure that diverse perspectives are taken into account in every stage of product development. AVAC convenes consultations with diverse stakeholders in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the countries where MATRIX products are being assessed, to learn and comment on the project and product pipeline. AVAC creates feedback loops to ensure product developers, clinical research teams and convened stakeholders have opportunities to give direct feedback and opportunities to engage with potential end-users to glean insights that they may apply to design and development agendas.

Robust stakeholder engagement is expected to contribute towards developing prevention products that are acceptable and likely to meet the needs and preferences of diverse stakeholders. Such products would be well liked and used by women, smoothly approved by regulators, supported by health systems; and delivered easily by health care providers. These attributes would support the products’ impact in reducing new HIV infections among women.

The Matrix Project Pipeline

The MATRIX pipeline of nine products are all being developed to prevent HIV infection in women. Some of these products are also designed to prevent one or more sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy.

Products in the pipeline include:

  • A vaginal film containing the ARV dapivirine that dissolves over a month, continuously releasing the drug.
  • The vaginal film with dapivirine and the contraceptive levonorgestrel.
  • Two products containing the ARV, cabotegravir – one using an implant, and another using a gel that are inserted under the skin. Both products slowly release cabotegravir. The two cabotegravir-based products include the contraceptive levonorgestrel
  • A fast-dissolving, short-acting product, that can be inserted vaginally or rectally. The antiviral protein in this product is being tested for its ability to prevent HIV, HPV and HSV.
  • A vaginal ring that would prevent HIV, HSV, HPV and pregnancy. It contains a peptide (a small fragment of a protein) that acts against the STIs and another agent that prevents pregnancy.
  • A fast-dissolving insert, containing tenofovir alafenamide and elvitegravir (TAF & EVG), for use as PrEP or PEP, vaginally or rectally.


Read more about the project and who to contact from

Project Impact

stakeholder consultations in 2022
Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe