Researchers have established that treated rings give women slightly 71 percent protection from HIV infections resulting from unprotected sex.
This follows a study to prevent infection with the ring for extended use (Aspire) which aims to come up with HIV preventive measures that empower women.
Speaking in Mzuzu on Tuesday, University of North Carolina Project research coordinator Tchangani Tembo said the Aspire ring will give people more options in prevention of new infections.
It offers women the ease to insert the treated ring in the cervix before sexual intercourse with minimal chances to be infected or detected by their partners, researchers say.
“However, this does not mean people should abandon other preventive measures. It is safe to have many options and researchers will continue developing such mechanisms,” said Tembo.
The researchers are exploring the possibility of utilising the ring to prevent other sexually transmitted diseases.
They are confident that it will be on the market “in few years to come”, but want to extend the experiment to include adolescents and post-menopause women.
Southern African Aids Trust (SAT) country programme officer Novice Bamusi said the ring gives Malawians, especially women, hope in the push to end new infections.
“Presently, it is hard for a woman to tell her partner to use a condom. With the ring, a woman can wear it without the man knowing,” he said. n