A woman inserts a spermicide — available in foams, creams, jellies, films, or suppositories — deep into the vagina before sex to kill sperm before it can reach an egg.

success rate
With typical use, 26 women out of 100 will become pregnant in one year. With perfect use, six women out of 100 will become pregnant in one year.

groovy part
You can buy it at any drugstore — without a prescription; it can provide lubrication for intercourse.

drag factor
Doesn’t reliably protect against STDs, including HIV; plus, the chemicals can cause irritation or allergic reactions. Some spermicides such as nonoxynol-9 have been found to cause so much irritation to the vaginal walls that they can make the user more susceptible to STD and HIV infection. It’s messy, and you need to follow directions for your product carefully — this may mean waiting after inserting spermicide before having intercourse, to allow time for it to dissolve and spread. You must insert more spermicide each time you have intercourse.

how to get it
At drugstores or supermarkets. The cost is $9 to $12 for the spermicide and applicator; refills cost $4 to $8.

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