Delivering Contraceptive Vaginal Rings

A cooperative agreement between the Population Council and USAID is facilitating contraceptive development and supporting introduction of new methods in low-resource settings.

The Issue

Access to safe, effective, and affordable contraceptive methods in low-resource settings is often limited or nonexistent. New methods are needed to address the high demand among women and adolescent girls around the world who are seeking to space their births or limit the number of pregnancies.

The Progress

The Population Council has been awarded a cooperative agreement from the USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health, "Delivering a Family of Contraceptive Vaginal Rings." This agreement supports two innovative contraceptive vaginal rings developed by the Council: a one-year vaginal contraceptive system in the shape of a ring that can be used by women to plan their pregnancies, and a three-month vaginal ring that can be used by breastfeeding women.

The Impact

The project will facilitate final development, regulatory review, and introduction in USAID priority countries. It aims to expand availability and increase affordability of the three-month Progesterone Vaginal Ring (PVR) in developing markets for postpartum breastfeeding women.

The project will engage representatives from communities of potential consumers and providers in decisionmaking related to country adoption of the PVR and the one-year ring. The project will also build collaboration with commercial outlets, social marketing providers, and not-for-profit providers to ensure broad availability of and access to the methods.

Long-acting vaginal rings represent an important advance in contraceptive development. These methods are especially beneficial for women in low-resource settings since they are designed to be under the woman’s control and do not require insertion by a healthcare provider or regular visits to a pharmacy.

  • The three-month PVR for breastfeeding women is an effective, user-controlled method that can aid in spacing pregnancies. It does not affect a woman’s ability to produce breast milk and does not require insertion by a healthcare provider. Each ring can be used continuously for three months, and rings can be used successively for up to one year. Fertility returns shortly after discontinuing use.
  • Annovera™, the one-year vaginal contraceptive system is a soft, reusable flexible silicone ring that can be inserted and removed by a woman herself. Left in place for 21 days and removed for 7 days each cycle, it is indicated to prevent pregnancy for up to a year and does not require refrigeration. The vaginal contraceptive system was approved by the U.S. FDA in August 2018.  The approval is a first step toward introducing the product globally and better meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of women, men and young people in the U.S. and around the world.

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