This study aims to develop an intravaginal ring to deliver factors that can ultimately enhance the vaginal environment and microbiota to treat and prevent bacterial vaginosis to prevent STIs, including HIV as well as adverse reproductive health outcomes.
A range of novel hydrogel materials are being investigated for their ability to load and release physiological concentrations of the bioactive product. The physical (mechanical and structural) properties of the product loaded hydrogel are being characterised. The biocompatibility of these hydrogel products is being assessed in an in vitro cervicovaginal epithelial cell model by confirming lack of inflammatory effects.
Bacterial vaginosis affects over 1 in 5 women of reproductive age globally and increases the risk of a women acquiring and transmitting HIV. The prevalence of bacterial vaginosis in some areas of sub-Saharan reach up to 50% where HIV is highly prevalent. Bacterial vaginosis also increases the risk of a women acquiring other STIs including chlamydia. It is estimated that bacterial vaginosis prevalence is 20 – 30% in Indigenous populations in Australia and in Papua New Guinea where there is high STI prevalence.
BV also increases the risk of adverse reproductive health outcomes including spontaneous preterm birth. Sustained intravaginal delivery of the active product over an extended period of time (i.e. 21 days) is expected to increase adherence and the efficacy to treat and prevent bacterial vaginosis and to prevent STIs including HIV as well as spontaneous preterm birth.
- FSET-Swinburne University of Technology
- Burnet Institute
- Swinburne University of Technology - Professor Simon Moulton, Dr Simon Cook
Meet the project team. Together, we are translating research into better health, for all.