Project

Developing an oral contraceptive and HIV-prevention method, in a single pill

Council researchers are working with partners to fast-track development of a single product to prevent unintended pregnancy and HIV.

The Issue

Despite significant progress in improving sexual and reproductive health around the world, sub-Saharan Africa continues to see high rates of unintended pregnancy and HIV. Between 40 and 50 percent of women who do not want to become pregnant are not using a modern method of contraception, and nearly two thirds of new HIV infections are among young women each year.  Growing evidence suggests that many women may be more likely to use an HIV prevention method if it also provided protection against pregnancy.

There is an urgent and continued need to develop innovative sexual and reproductive health technologies that women and girls can control, and we must find ways to do this as quickly as possible.

The Progress

Several novel contraceptive multi-purpose prevention technologies (cMPTs) are in development, yet it will be many years before one is available. Council researchers are working with partners to fast-track development of a single product to prevent unintended pregnancy and HIV. The cMPT product will contain tenofovir disoproxyl fumarate (300mg) combined with emtricitabine (200mg), which is already approved for PrEP (Truvada for PrEP®) in the United States and more than 20 other countries around the world, and levonorgestrel (150mcg) combined with ethinyl estradiol (30mcg), a widely available combined oral contraceptive. This work will confirm cMPT acceptability among young women and adolescent girls, explore the possibility of combining existing products in to a single tablet and identify a clear pathway toward regulatory approval. 

The Impact

An oral cMPT, available in family planning and HIV clinics, has the potential to play an important role in meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescent girls and young women. The Population Council is committed to continuing research and development of products that give women and girls choice, convenience, and control over their sexual and reproductive health.

Key Staff (3)