- BOSTON (AP) -- A study challenges the popular belief that spermicides
protect against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The research,
conducted on prostitutes in Cameroon, found no sign that combining the
common spermicide nonoxynol 9 with condoms worked any better than condoms
- The findings were first reported in Washington
last year. They are now being published in Thursday's issue of the New
England Journal of Medicine.
- The study was conducted on 1,292 HIV-negative
prostitutes and directed by Dr. Ronald E. Roddy of Family Health International
of Durham, N.C.
- The women were given condoms and were
randomly assigned to get either a spermicide film or an inactive placebo
film. They were told to insert the film into their vaginas before intercourse
and to require their sex partners to use the condoms.
- The study was conducted between March
1994 and December 1996. Just under 7 percent of women in both groups became
infected with the AIDS virus during the course of the study. The spermicide
also did not reduce the risk of gonorrhea or chlamydia infection.
- The research contradicts earlier work
suggesting that nonoxynol 9 is moderately effective against gonorrhea and
some other sexually transmitted infections.
- Tests in animals and test tubes have
also shown signs that spermicides can inactivate the AIDS virus, but studies
in people have produced conflicting results. A study of the contraceptive
sponge, conducted on prostitutes in Kenya, was stopped early because users
actually had a higher rate of AIDS infection.
- Family Health International is a nonprofit
research group that focuses on improving reproductive health, primarily
through contraception and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.