Providing women and young girls with more choices for their sexual and reproductive health needs
Research is underway to develop new biomedical interventions that could allow women and young girls to address multiple sexual and reproductive health issues with one product. MPTs can include vaccines, contraceptives, microbicides and devices such as intravaginal rings and diaphragms. Currently, the MPTs under study focus on drug delivery mechanisms and products to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. The only approved products for now are male or female condoms, sometimes with innovative designs and concepts. The product most advanced in clinical testing is 1% tenofovir (TFV) gel for which there is evidence for
impact against HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infections from one trial and a confirmatory Phase 3 trial is currently underway in South Africa. MPTs would increase efficiencies for end-users, donors and providers, by providing simultaneous protection against multiple health risks while also meeting a life course approach to the sexual and reproductive health needs and goals of women.
Sexually active women can be exposed to the risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. An estimated 222 million women in developing countries would like to delay or stop childbearing. Improved access to contraception is estimated potentially to reduce maternal mortality by 30% worldwide. Yearly, 500 million curable STIs (syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis) occur worldwide and STIs, including HIV, can result in
infertility, cancer or be fatal. STIs, as well as persistent reproductive tract infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, can also augment the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV infection. In addition, multidrug resistance, especially to gonococcal infections, is increasing worldwide and poses a major threat to global STI control.