Spermicides

What are spermicides?

Spermicides can come in the form of vaginal creams, foams, films, suppositories and sponges. They are inserted into the body before sex and contain chemicals that kill sperm.

How do they work, and are spermicides effective?

All types of spermicide are made with non-oxynol 9 a chemical that kills sperm. Each type must be placed in vagina before sex. Once inside the vagina, body heat causes the spermicide to melt and kill sperm on contact. If you follow directions exactly, spermicides are 94% effective. If used with a condom spermicides can be as high as 99% effective. If spermicides are NOT used properly, they are only 50% effective.

What should I know about using spermicides?

  • If allergic can irritate your skin and make transmission of STIs or HIV easier
  • don’t protect against STIs or HIV
  • available from pharmacies, supermarkets and general stores
  • must be used right before having sex
  • must be left in vagina for 6 – 8 hours after sex
  • don’t need to see a medical professional