Soul City Institute welcomes SAHPRA approval of the HIV Prevention Ring

While this is yet another a great step towards HIV prevention, we should not forget the real culprit behind girls and young women’s increased risk to HIV infection – patriarchy.

The Soul City Institute for Social Justice (SCI) welcomes the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (SAHPRA) approval of the monthly Dapivirine Vaginal Ring as an HIV prevention option for women 18 years older. 

This is a step in the right direction in finding ways to reduce women’s risk of HIV infection, through scientific breakthroughs such as the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring. The ring is a much-needed addition to a proven HIV prevention method mix, says Phinah Kodisang, SCI’s CEO. 

Women and young women in particular continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, with nearly two-thirds of new adult infections in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing their options for HIV prevention is instrumental in ensuring a decrease in new infections,” she adds. 

Currently, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is only available in the form of a daily HIV prevention tablet which is available in South Africa. Through taking this pill every day, research shows, people can stay HIV negative. But the uptake across South Africa has been slow. 

According to the latest HIV prevalence survey, an average of  2,700 girls and women between the ages 15 and older acquire new HIV infections weekly, which calls for diversification of options to enable them to choose HIV prevention methods that best meets their individual needs, which is both empowering and critical to controlling the epidemic. 

“This is feminist in approach, because it puts prevention in the hands of women, it allows them to exercise control over their own bodies and ensures that young women in all their diversities are enabled to claim their sexual and reproductive health and rights,” Kodisang says. 

Scientific and medical interventions such as the PrEP pill– and now the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring – are critical for HIV prevention especially for girls and young women, but alone they will not bring an end to HIV, Kodisang argues. 

“We need to get to the core problem that puts girls and young women more at risk of HIV infection. The culprit is patriarchy. We must address the social and behavioural factors at play as well.” Soul City Institute awaits plans from the Department of Health in introducing Dapivirine Vaginal Ring into the public health system. 


For media interviews, contact:

Phinah Kodisang, CEO of the Soul City Institute for Social Justice, 011 771 7900

© 2023 Soul City Institute