Margaret Kasaro and Soumya Benhabbour of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the U.S. will evaluate 3D-printed intravaginal ring (IVR) prototypes in Zambia to identify the design most acceptable to women for long-term use against unplanned pregnancy and HIV infection. In Zambia, HIV prevalence remains particularly high among women, and 41% of pregnancies are unplanned. IVRs are an effective, well-tolerated, and women-controlled contraceptive and HIV-preventative; however, their performance has suffered in large-scale clinical trials because of poor adherence. They have exploited a state-of-the-art 3D-printing process to rapidly engineer IVRs in a cost-effective, single-step process enabling the controlled release of multiple drugs for HIV prevention and contraception. They will recruit around 16 women, aged 18–45 from Kampala Health Centre, and use focus groups to evaluate their views on the proposed 90-day timeframe of use for four different IVR prototypes to guide the final design.
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