Warning re: Nonoxynol-9 Contraceptives and Spermicidal Products

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The Ministry of Health is discouraging the use of all over-the-counter (OTC) vaginal contraceptive and spermicidal products containing the chemical ingredient nonoxynol-9 (N-9)

“Nonoxynol-9 does not provide protection against infection from HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),” said the Ministry.

According to the Health Ministry, “the use of products containing N9 can cause vaginal and rectal irritation, which can heighten the chance of persons becoming infected with HIV from an infected partner.”

While advising the use of alternative forms of contraception, the Health Ministry warns that if persons still prefer the use of these vaginal contraceptive and spermicidal products, containing N-9, then they must adhere to the following guidelines:

(i) These products are for vaginal use only and should not be used for rectal (anal) use;

(ii) These products do not protect against HIV or other STDs and may increase the risk of getting HIV from an infected partner;

(iii) Do not use if either partner has HIV. If you do not know whether you or your sex partner is infected, choose another form of birth control such as the male or female condom that does not contain N-9;

(iv) When using these products you may get vaginal irritation (burning, itching, or a rash). 

(v) Stop use and ask a doctor, if either partner experiences burning, itching or gets a rash or other irritation of the vagina or penis. (JG)


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