Researchers have expressed hope that many women in Malawi will be protected from the risk of contracting HIV once the vaginal ring begins to be used in Malawi.
The researchers said this during a Civil Society Organizations awareness raising meeting.
The meeting was organised by Southern Africa Aids Trust (SAT) Malawi, an organisation that focuses on HIV and AIDS and sexual reproductive health rights among adolescents aged 10-24.
It was aimed at disseminating information about research on vaginal ring that is being currently conducted in the country and in other Southern African countries. The ring is inserted in women’s private parts for a month to protect them from HIV and AIDS.
In Malawi the research is being done by University of North Carolina and JHU with funding from IPM And MTN.
Speaking after the meeting, research coordinator Tchangani Tembo said many people will be protected from HIV once the method starts being used in Malawi.
“In simple terms women are the ones who are vulnerable HIV/AIDS due to biological, social and economic status. Although Malawi has not yet started using this ring there is hope that once it is in use more will be protected from HIV and AIDS,” he said.
On challenges, Tembo pointed out miscommunication about the research as a barrier saying some people in communities misunderstand the researchers as blood suckers or satanists.
In his remarks, SAT Malawi Country Director Robert Mangwazu Phiri said there is impression that messages about the ring will reach hard to reach areas in the country.
The Ring is undergoing regulatory review at the European Medicines Agency and is not yet available in any country for public use.