Developing Multipurpose Reproductive Health Technologies: An Integrated Strategy
2013 | AIDS Research and Treatment
Women worldwide confront two frequently concurrent reproductive health challenges: the need for contraception and for protection from sexually transmitted infections, importantly HIV/AIDS. While conception and infection share the same anatomical site and mode of transmission, there are no reproductive health technologies to date that simultaneously address that reality.
Relevant available technologies are either contraceptive or anti-infective, are limited in number, and require different modes of administration and management. These “single-indication” technologies do not therefore fully respond to what is a substantial reproductive health need intimately linked to pivotal events in many women's lives.
This paper reviews an integrated attempt to develop multipurpose prevention technologies—“MPTs”—products explicitly designed to simultaneously address the need for both contraception and protection from sexually transmitted infections. It describes an innovative and iterative MPT product development strategy with the following components: identifying different needs for such technologies and global variations in reproductive health priorities, defining “Target Product Profiles” as the framework for a research and development “roadmap,” collating an integrated MPT pipeline and characterizing significant pipeline gaps, exploring anticipated regulatory requirements, prioritizing candidates for problem-solving and resource investments, and implementing an ancillary advocacy agenda to support this breadth of effort. Women currently face the concurrent challenges of contraception and prevention from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).