Do all MPTs prevent pregnancy and HIV?
No! To be an MPT, a product must protect against at least two of the following sexual and reproductive health risks: HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy. This means that an MPT doesn’t necessarily have to include contraception or HIV prevention – it could prevent one or the other in combination with another indication, or even neither if it prevented two non-HIV STIs.
Where can I get them? How soon will they be available?
Currently the condom is the only available MPT, but new methods are in the product development pipeline. Once new MPTs receive regulatory approval they will be accessible either by prescription or over-the-counter, depending on the components of the specific product. Infused vaginal rings, injections, and medication will be available with a prescription, for example while new condom designs and vaginal films might be available over-the-counter.
Why a suite of products?
Women need different kinds of sexual and reproductive health prevention under different circumstances and life stages. There will be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ MPT, and thus women need a diverse method mix to ensure choice and maximize the potential impact of comprehensive prevention.
Are they safe?
As is the case with other biomedical products, MPTs in development go through stringent trials to assess their efficacy and safety before coming to market. Additionally, the involvement of women’s health advocates, such as through the Initiative for MPTs, supports a high safety and acceptability standard.
Why not invest in expanding condom use instead of creating new products?
Condoms are a vital tool in the prevention method mix and have made dramatic improvements in health worldwide. It is important to recognize, however, that while condoms are a great prevention option for some, it is not the optimal option for others – their use may be difficult to negotiate, or some may not like how they feel. The key is to ensure that women have a range of comprehensive options that they can choose from, which is the goal of the MPT field.
How is CAMI Health making a difference in MPT development?
CAMI Health plays a unique role as the coordinator and Secretariat of the IMPT. We do not have a stake in the development of any single product, and therefore, we can play a neutral role to advance the entire MPT field so that all stakeholders involved may benefit.
Why does the IMPT focus on women’s health? What about men?
The IMPT’s focus on women stems from an observed need for additional leadership in prioritizing the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health of women. While other important partner organizations may have a broader focus in sexual health or a focus on interventions to support men’s health, the IMPT has expertise in women’s health and is well-situated to develop solutions tailored to women’s diverse needs and desires. There are still critical implications for men in the work of the IMPT, however. Researchers and advocates assert that male engagement in women’s product use, including through educational campaigns and counseling, can help to support product uptake and consistent use. Moreover, some MPTs in development could be used by men or women, such as rectal microbicides.