Clinical trials are to begin soon on a new vaginal ring that promises to provide months of protection against pregnancy, HIV and herpes, US researchers have said.

The device, which is similar to birth control rings already on the market, delivers both an antiretroviral drug and a contraceptive which are slowly released over 90 days.

A report on the ring and how it was developed by scientists at Northwestern University is published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.

The ring could offer women an alternative that eliminates the anxiety of missed pills and requires a lower dose of an antiretroviral drug aimed at preventing HIV since it is delivered at the point of transmission.

Scientists and AIDS prevention advocates have been trying to develop a ring like this for a long time, said Rowena Johnston, vice president and Director of research at amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

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