The controlled-release characteristics of matrix silicone intravaginal rings loaded with between 100 and 971 mg of nonoxynol-9 have been investigated with a view to developing a ring that may offer a new female-controlled method for the prevention of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV. Intravaginal rings containing 253, 487 and 971 mg of nonoxynol-9 provided a daily release of 2 mg or more over the 8-day release period, the minimal amount of nonoxynol-9 considered to provide an effective vaginal concentration for the prevention of HIV. Furthermore, the maximum daily release of N9 was about 6 mg, an amount significantly smaller than that observed for other nonoxynol-9 products whose large daily doses may in fact increase the occurrence of HIV by causing epithelial damage to the vaginal tissue. The release mechanism of the liquid nonoxynol-9 from the intravaginal rings has also been investigated and compared to models describing the release of solid drugs from the rings. It has been demonstrated through release studies and surface microscopy that a drug depletion zone is not established in such liquid-loaded intravaginal ring systems, with implications for the release kinetics.