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March 6, 2002

Nonoxynol-9 as a Vaginal Microbicide for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections: It's Time to Move On

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle.

JAMA. 2002;287(9):1171-1172. doi:10.1001/jama.287.9.1171

Nonoxynol-9 has been used as a spermicide for more than half a century. The need for a female-controlled method for preventing acquisition of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) led to research into nonoxynol-9 as a vaginal microbicide. By the end of the 1980s, several studies of the in vitro antimicrobial activity of nonoxynol-9 showed that it had the ability to inactivate various sexually transmitted pathogens, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).1-3 Animal studies conducted later seemed to confirm the results observed, suggesting that nonoxynol-9 had high potential as an effective vaginal microbicide for prevention of STIs.4-6