The Unit Director Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu explains to a community member how the Dapivirine ring works
The MRC Uganda Unit commemorated World AIDS Day 2016 at community events in two of its study areas. The events held on 8th December in Masaka District at Lambu landing site along the Lake Victoria shores and on 13th December in Kisenyi, one of Kampala city's sprawling slums, brought together community members, leaders and partners in the HIV/AIDS response at both the local and national levels. The celebrations were held under the theme, "Hands Up for HIV prevention
At both events, Unit staff provided a range of services including voluntary HIV counselling and testing, health education and distribution of information, education and communication materials. Staff also demonstrated how the Dapivirine virginal ring, one of the HIV/AIDS prevention products under investigation at the Unit, works. Developed by the non-profit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), the Dapivirine ring was investigated during the IPM 027 phase III trial, also known as the “Ring Study”, which was a multicentre, randomised, double blind, placebo controlled safety and efficacy trial. A total of 1959 healthy, sexually active, HIV negative women aged 18-45 and at risk of acquiring HIV volunteered and were enrolled at 7 research centres in South Africa and Uganda. Trial results showed that the Dapivirine vaginal ring reduced the acquisition of HIV-1 infection via vaginal intercourse by 31% in women in sub-Saharan Africa. Potential trends show that the ring may offer more protection when women are more adherent to product use. The Dapivirine vaginal ring may therefore be an important HIV prevention option for women who are at risk of HIV infection.