Dapivirine ring gives back the power to women to be able to take full control of their prevention

Last updated on: 11 March 2024

The Dapivirine ring is the first discreet, women-controlled, long-acting HIV prevention product. Dr Lilian advocates for approval and availability of the ring in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda through the Empowering – Prevention by Choice project. In this interview she tells about the importance of this game changer for young women in HIV prevention.

Clip of the video interview of Dr Lilian Benjamin Mwakyosi


“Having choice for HIV prevention,is extremely important given the high rates of new HIV infections affecting adolescent girls and young women across Africa. This shows directly that there is something we’re not doing right, despite the incredible strides countries are making towards ending AIDS. One thing that I think that is missing out for me from experience as a young woman, but also experience working with young women. Currently, we do not have enough options where young women can pick from to make sure that they’re able to protect themselves from getting HIV.

The dapivirine vaginal ring is one of the newest WHO recommended HIV prevention options. However, it’s still not available in most African countries, and most countries affected by HIV. It comes in as a game changer, the first ever, women control discrete HIV prevention option that could give back the power to girls and women to be able to take full control of their prevention.

While the efficacy of dapivirine vaginal ring is comparably low as compared to other WHO approved HIV prevention options I think it is still very important to have this tool available. Because I don’t think efficacy alone should be used to determine whether communities can access a certain intervention or not. We could have a variety of highly effective methods. But if they do not respond to the needs of the girls and young women, the result will be them not taking up those services.

For countries that have not yet approved the dapivirine vaginal ring, more than ever we need now the political will to making sure that we are able to review and approve the ring, prepare systems in place to making sure that it’s accessible to the communities as soon as possible, but also making sure that we secure resources to getting it closer to the communities as soon as we can.”