Spermicide is a substance that contains chemicals, such as nonoxynol-9, that immobilize or kill sperm. Spermicide is put into the vagina before sex to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Spermicide is available without a prescription and comes in many forms, including cream, gel, foam, film, suppository and tablet.

Spermicide isn't a highly effective birth control method when used alone. However, spermicide can also be used with a barrier method — such as a condom, diaphragm or cervical cap — to prevent pregnancy. Spermicide doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.

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Spermicide is a contraceptive substance that can help prevent pregnancy. Spermicide:

  • Can be used alone or with a barrier method, such as a condom, diaphragm, contraceptive sponge or cervical cap
  • Doesn't require partner cooperation
  • Doesn't require a prescription
  • Doesn't have the same side effects as hormone-based birth control methods
  • Increases lubrication during sex

Spermicide isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may discourage use of spermicide if:

  • You're at high risk of contracting HIV or you have HIV or AIDS
  • You have frequent urinary tract infections
  • You're at high risk of pregnancy — you're younger than age 30, you have sex three or more times a week, or you're not likely to consistently use spermicide

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