Spermicides are an over the counter barrier method that, when placed in the vagina, help to immobilize sperm and prevent egg fertilization.
WHAT IS IT?
Spermicides contain a chemical called nonxynol-9. This chemical helps to immobilize and/or kill sperm cells in order to help prevent egg fertilization. Spermicides come in many different forms such as cream, foam, jelly, film or suppository and are placed in the vagina before intercourse.
HOW DO I USE IT?
Before use, read directions on the package carefully. Different forms of spermicide may vary in how long before intercourse they should be placed in the vagina. Following the directions, the foam, cream, jelly, film or suppository will be placed deep inside the vagina. This creates a barrier over the cervix and helps to immobilize the sperm once they are in the vagina.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
o Most people will experience no side effects from spermicide
o It is possible that some people may experience slight irritation of the penis or vagina
o For those at high risk for HIV or participating in anal sex, using nonxynol-9 multiple times a day may irritate tissue and increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV
HOW WELL DOES IT WORK?
With typical use, spermicide is about 71% effective. This means that out of 100 women, 29 will get pregnant in the first year of typical use. Perfect use of spermicide can be up to 85% effective, meaning that 15 out of 100 women will get pregnant the first year of perfect use. Spermicide can increase a male or female condom’s effectiveness greatly when used together. As stated before, spermicide does not protect against STIs and may increase risk of HIV and other STIs if used frequently.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE METHOD?
Advantages of spermicide:
o Can be purchased at drugstores, grocery stores, family planning clinics, etc.
o Easy to use
Disadvantages of spermicide:
o DOES NOT PROTECT AGAINST STIs
o Can be messy
o Irritation of sex organs for some users
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Spermicides can range anywhere from 4-12 dollars. The more expensive kits come with an applicator and refills can be purchased at a lower cost. Packages contain anywhere from 6-12 applications.