Multipurpose Prevention Technologies for the Developing World

Over the past 50 years, U.S. government investments in research and innovation have played a major role in improving the lives of women, children and families worldwide. Investments in sexual and reproductive health technologies, including contraceptives, vaccines, diagnostic tools and therapies, enable women and couples to have the number of children they want, when they want them; to deliver their babies safely and have healthy newborns; and to have healthy sexual lives.

Despite these remarkable gains, there is still much work to be done to provide essential health services to the poorest and most vulnerable people. Far too many women continue to have unintended pregnancies, STIs and pregnancy-related complications that could have been prevented.

In the face of these health challenges, the global community has been working toward better linkages between different types of sexual and reproductive health services in the developing world. As awareness of the need for linked services has increased, the need for new technologies that combine protection against unintended pregnancy, HIV and other STIs has become a research priority.

This drive—to develop new multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs)—is now a rising priority on the health agenda of many of the leading government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide; however, experts believe that these products may never reach the market without robust U.S. investment and intensified collaboration between government and the private sector. The U.S. government is the world’s largest funder of global health research and development, and this leadership will be critical in pioneering and advancing MPTs.