What are MPTs?
MPTs, Multipurpose Prevention Technologies, allow women to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV at the same time. MPT is not the name of a single product, rather MPT describes a class of products that all deliver concurrent prevention to better address the range of women’s simultaneous sexual and reproductive health risks. Currently the condom is the only available MPT, but methods, many of which are female initiated, are in the product development pipeline. MPTs are the future of sexual and reproductive health prevention.
Why a suite of products?
Women need different kinds of sexual and reproductive health prevention at different times in their lives. Some want to get pregnant but prevent STIs, while others hope to prevent pregnancy at the same time they avoid STIs and HIV. For many women in the world the threat of HIV is very high, while for others it is negligible but HPV and other STIs pose a greater threat. Therefore in order to maximize the impact of comprehensive prevention, we are working toward development of a class of products so that women can choose the prevention combinations that make sense for them.
Are they safe?
New MPT products under development go through stringent trials to assess their efficacy and safety before coming to market. Additionally, the involvement of women’s health advocates in the Initiative for MPTs ensures a high safety and acceptability standard.
Why not invest in getting more condom uptake instead of creating new products?
Condom uptake is vital and has made dramatic improvements in health. While condoms are widely available, they are often not used consistently, and women are not always able to insist on their use. 92% of heterosexual people in relationships around the world do not use condoms, and for people who want to get pregnant but avoid STIs including HIV, the condom is not an option. So while condom uptake campaigns can increase condom use, it is clear that it cannot be the only solution. Only by creating new comprehensive options that address women’s barriers to use, such as the need for discreet, female-initiated methods, will we be able to significantly reduce unintended pregnancy, STI and HIV rates around the world.
Where can I get them? How soon will they be available?
Once new MPTs receive FDA approval they will be available a number of ways, depending on the components of the specific product. Infused vaginal rings, injections and medication will be available with a prescription, while new condom designs and vaginal films might be available over the counter.
What is collective impact and what does that have to do with birth control and infection prevention?
Collective Impact is a specific approach to partnerships that brings people together for long-term collaborations—people with expertise and a stake in a solution who don’t generally talk to each other. Collective Impact engages the key people and organizations from different sectors into the same process so that they can share their expertise, reduce redundancy and maximize their work towards developing complex solutions.
For MPTs this process is vital because even though we talk about sexual and reproductive health as a field, the reality is that the worlds of STI research and development and those of HIV and family planning respectively, are quite independent. It was clear that to create safe, comprehensive prevention we needed to bridge these sectors of research and development and bring the voices of women, of end-users, to the table so that women’s diverse needs and concerns were delivered as feedback throughout the process.
How is CAMI Health making a difference in MPT development?
CAMI Health plays a unique role as the Coordinator of the Initiative for Multipurpose Prevention Technology (IMPT). We do not benefit from the development of any single product and therefore we can play a neutral role to move the entire, complex initiative forward to build the multipurpose prevention technology field.