What are Multipurpose Prevention Technologies?
Multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) are gels, intravaginal rings (IVRs), or barrier devices used with a gel or film that have a combination of contraceptive, microbicidal and/or anti-sexually transmitted infection (STI) properties with different mechanisms of action that act to prevent pregnancy, HIV and/or STIs.
The Need for MPTs
A significant number of women, especially in developing countries, need protection from STIs, in particular HIV/AIDS, as well as family planning methods to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
Today, approximately 34 million people are infected with HIV, with most of those infected living in developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, there were 2.5 million new infections and 1.7 million deaths due to HIV/AIDS. Women account for about one-half of HIV infections, with the majority of infections transmitted via sexual intercourse.
Worldwide, approximately 40% of all pregnancies are unintended, with one-half of these pregnancies ending in abortion. Four out of five unintended pregnancies in the developing world occur among women who want to use contraceptives but do not have access to them. Each year there are approximately 44 million abortions, of which 38 million occur in developing countries. Many of these abortions occur under unsafe conditions, leading to tens of thousands of maternal deaths and millions of women suffering temporary or permanent disabilities each year.
Development of MPTs at CONRAD
CONRAD has been on the forefront of developing MPTs to prevent unplanned pregnancies and protect against HIV/AIDS or other STIs. In 1988, with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), CONRAD pioneered a screening program aimed at identifying compounds with dual activity against sperm and HIV. To give women a variety of options, CONRAD has developed a vaginal ring containing a contraceptive and an antiretroviral, in addition to other products.
Levonorgestrel (LNG)/Tenofovir (TFV)-Releasing Intravaginal Ring
The TFV/LNG IVR is the first multipurpose prevention technology designed to prevent STIs and unplanned pregnancies to begin testing in women, and is currently in a Phase 1 study at EVMS in Norfolk, and ProFamilia in the Dominican Republic.