The 16,000 residents living in South Africa will be receiving 16,000 dapivirine vaginal rings for HIV prevention to fight infectious diseases, the Global Fund has disclosed.
The fund revealed in a statement on Friday that three key organizations — AIDS Foundation of South Africa, Beyond Zero, and Networking HIV & AIDS Community of Southern Africa — “have placed an initial order of 16,000 dapivirine vaginal rings for HIV prevention with the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund).”
The dapivirine vaginal ring is said to be the only pre-exposure prophylaxis ring approved by regulatory agencies including the World Health Organisation for HIV prevention.
“The pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) ring is a silicone ring that is inserted in the vagina every month and delivers long-acting, topical, and localized HIV prevention,” the fund stated, adding that the introduction of the PrEP ring in South Africa expands options for women beyond oral PrEP, which is often unable to meet the unique needs of all individuals who want to use it.
Peter Sands, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, said women’s health advocates have long championed the need for a discreet product that women exclusively control, that is, the PrEP ring.
. “We are convinced that this new PrEP ring can have a revolutionary impact on HIV prevention, and this is why we hope that many more countries will follow South Africa’s move,” Sands said.
“South Africa has the largest HIV epidemic in the world, with nearly 8 million people living with HIV.
“While new infections have been declining, the country still had the largest number of new HIV infections globally (over 160,000) in 2022.
” South Africa has made progress toward finding and diagnosing HIV, with 94% of people living with HIV knowing their status in 2022,” the fund stated.
The Global Fund added that its partnership has invested more than US$60 billion, saving 59 million lives and reducing the combined death rate from the three diseases as a result of support by many countries.