206 Family Planning
(contraceptive foam, tablets, jelly, or cream)
Spermicide comes in many forms—foam, tablets, and cream or
jelly—and is put into the vagina just before having sex. Spermicide
kills the man’s sperm before it can get into the womb.
If used alone, spermicide is less effective than some other
methods. But it is helpful when used as extra protection along
with another method, like the diaphragm or condom.
Spermicides can be bought in many pharmacies and markets.
Some women find that some types of spermicides cause itching or
irritation inside the vagina.
Spermicides do not provide protection against any STI. Because
spermicides can irritate the walls of the vagina, they may cause
small cuts that allow HIV to pass more easily into the blood
(see page 524).
When to insert spermicide:
Tablets or suppositories should be put in the vagina
10 to 15 minutes before having sex. Foam, jelly, or cream work
best if they are put in the vagina just before having sex.
If more than one hour passes before having sex, add more
spermicide. Add a new tablet, suppository, or applicator of foam,
jelly, or cream each time you have sex.
How to insert spermicide:
1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
2. To use foam, shake the foam container rapidly, about 20 times. Then
press the nozzle to fill the applicator.
To use jelly or cream, screw the spermicide tube onto the applicator.
Fill the applicator by squeezing the spermicide tube.
To use vaginal tablets, remove the wrapping and
wet them with water or spit on them. (DO NOT
put the tablet in your mouth.)
3. Gently put the applicator or vaginal tablet into your
vagina, as far back as it will go.
4. If you are using an applicator, press in the plunger all the way
and then take out the empty applicator.
5. Rinse the applicator with clean water and soap.
Leave the spermicide in place for at least 6 hours after sex. Do
not douche or wash the spermicide out. If cream drips out of your
vagina, wear a pad, cotton or clean cloth to protect your clothes.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012