A newly developed vaginal ring releases not only contraceptives but also multiple antiretroviral drugs that can inhibit HIV, the AIDS virus, according to a recent report.

"Our device can offer protection from both infection and pregnancy," Dr. Brij B. Saxena from Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York told Reuters Health.

Three established anti-HIV drugs and a new one were incorporated, in different combinations, into vaginal rings made of either bio-soluble Acacia gum or a non-biodegradable hydrogel.

In their paper in the medical journal AIDS, Saxena and colleagues report that drug release rates at concentrations high enough to block HIV were sustained for at least 15 days in Acacia gum rings and for at least 28 days in hydrogel rings.

Devices like these "may have the greatest potential to suppress heterosexual transmission of HIV," the researchers write.