Research shows that the use of a monthly vaginal ring and a daily oral Truvada is safe and effective in preventing HIV in adolescent girls. The vaginal ring is designed to aid in the prevention of HIV; it is worn inside the vagina. A woman can insert and remove it on her own. Meanwhile oral Truvada is a prescription medicine that is used by sexually active people to reduce the risk of getting HIV through sex. Truvada is an accepted method of prevention among adults.

The importance of these new research findings was emphasized since the HIV prevention needs of young people is different than that of adults. This is because adolescents and young people represent a growing share of people living with HIV worldwide.

Use of Truvada as PrEP

It was in this study that the vaginal ring was first tested in under-eighteen girls and the clinical trial of Truvada as PrEP for adolescents. The study involved about one hundred and fifty sexually active adolescents, aged between age 15 and 19 in South Africa. Most of the participants opted for Truvada. It is unfortunate that not all those opted for this method took it as it was prescribed and while others stopped using it over time.

Truvada contains a drug called tenofivir that helps in HIV prevention. Researchers checked for tenofivir in the blood samples of the participants to see how many had adhered to the drug. After three months, only about sixty percent of the participants were still taking the drug and about eighty percent of participants agreed to continue taking the drug for PrEP.

At six months, only about forty percent of participants were still taking the drug and only about sixty percent of the participants opted to continue or resume taking the drug. Lack of adherence may have been due to the side effects accorded with the drugs or just ignored by the participants. It was observed that adherence to Truvada for PrEP decreased as the study visits decreased in most studies and suggested that monthly study visits may be done to influence better adherence to Truvada for PrEP.

Use of Vaginal ring

Previous studies show that the use of the vaginal ring in women age 18 to 45 showed 27 percent protection overall. This is however not in the case of women at the age of 18 to 21; they have a lower percentage of protection due to low adherence.

There was another clinical trial that examined the safety and efficacy of the rings in girls of age 15 to 17. In this research, the adherence was high since most rings were used. The girls who had used their rings could be told apart since vaginal rings released HIV prevention drug dapivirine into the blood stream.

When dapivirine was tested in the participants’ blood samples, most of the patients had it. These results were so encouraging that it convinced many that the ring was safe in U.S. teens and there is even another study scheduled this year to get data about the same in African adolescent girls.