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What is it?
Spermicide is a non-hormonal contraceptive that prevents pregnancy and some STDs. Spermicides are usually marketed as vaginal foams, gel, or creams that can be used alone or with a condom or a vaginal barrier, like a diaphragm or a cervical cap. There are also some condoms that come with spermicide already on the condom for added protection.

How does it work?
Spermicide is a chemical compound that when used properly, kills the sperm in the vagina before it can reach the uterus and fertilize an egg. In the United States, the two most common types of spermicide are nonoxonyl-9 and octoxynol. The foam or gel serves as a base and helps disperse the spermicide in the vagina.

How effective is Spermicide?
When used alone, spermicides are about 79-94% effective at preventing pregnancy and some STDs. It is recommended that you use a spermicide in conjunction with another form of birth control, like a condom or a vaginal barrier to provide even greater protection. When using a foam, gel or cream, be sure to read all the instructions to make sure that you are using it correctly. With some spermicides, it may take a few minutes for it to dissolve and disperse through the vagina. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. Spermicides usually last for about one hour, but you should reapply each time you have intercourse.

Advantages of Spermicide
Can be purchased over the counter in most drug stores
Inexpensive, non-hormonal method of preventing pregnancy and some STDs
Does not require partner involvement
Provides some protection against STDs

Disadvantages of Spermicide
Some people may have an allergic reaction to spermicide
May increase susceptibility to yeast infections
It is not certain if spermicide can prevent the transmission of HIV
The effects of spermicide only last for about one hour and need to be reapplied

Where can I get Spermicide?
Spermicides are available at most drug stores over the counter and are relatively inexpensive. You do not need a prescription to use spermicide.

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