HEALTHTIMES, Zimbabwe’s leading online health news publication will this Thursday, August 2020 host an hour-long conversation to discuss and unpack the Dapirivine Vaginal Ring, a tool meant to reduce the risk of HIV infection in women.
By Patricia Mashiri
The Question and Answer (Q&A) will start at 11:00 in the morning and end at 12:00 pm and will be hosted on HealthTimes twitter platform @healthtimeszim. The live twitter Q&A is set to give citizens and women in general an opportunity to interact with Dr Nyaradzo Mgodi, an expert in HIV prevention with vast experience in conducting clinical trials in women of reproductive age in Zimbabwe.
The ring, intended to be inserted once-monthly, contains the antiretroviral (ARV) dapivirine, and was developed by a non-profit organisation, International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM).
In an interview with the HealthTimes Editor, Mr Michael Gwarisa, he said the live Twitter Question and Answer (Q&A) was meant to raise awareness as well as give women an opportunity to familiarize with the Dapirivine Ring before it is rolled out across the country.
As you know, Zimbabwe is one of the first countries in the region where the Dapirivine Ring will be first rolled out. It is critical that we ensure women get adequate information pertaining to this new development. There is need to plug the information gaps to ensure uptake of this life changing innovation is not hindered by misconceptions and misinformation.
“This ring gives women an additional option on top of other existing methods which are there already and these include Pre-Exposure Prophylaxes (PrEP), condoms amongst a host of other methods. It is critical that women are well versed with this new option and they should also know that it is not coming to substitute existing methods,” said Mr Gwarisa.
He added as part of the sensitization, HealthTimes had also embarked on packaging news in vernacular language so as to ensure the information gets across to every citizen regardless of background.
“You might have noticed that we have since started publishing news in vernacular. We have started with Shona articles and we will soon be moving to Ndebele so that we cover these two major languages first. We shall also be publishing in all the other languages in the not so distant future.
“We hope this will go a long way in ensuring products such as the Dapirivine ring are well understood by the public.”
Meanwhile, Dr Mgodi who will be responding to questions during the live session has vast expertise in HIV prevention works and is a histopathologist with several years of experience conducting HIV clinical trials in women of reproductive age in Harare, Zimbabwe, the home of the University of Zimbabwe-University of California San Francisco (UZ-UCSF) Collaborative Research Programme, a DAIDS Clinical Trials Unit (CTU).
She is lead investigator for the HPTN 076 and HPTN 082 protocols in Harare. She is protocol co-chairperson for HVTN 703/HPTN 081 study, also known as Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP). She also serves as a member of the HPTN Executive Committee, as a scientific reviewer for the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe, and has served as a technical advisor for the Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) survey.