California Lawmakers, AIDS Advocates Send Letter to FDA, Manufacturers Asking Condom Makers to Stop Using Nonoxynol-9
August 29, 2003
California state lawmakers, HIV/AIDS advocates and women's advocacy groups on Wednesday sent an open letter to the FDA and manufacturers and retailers of condoms and lubricants calling for the country's largest producers of condoms to stop using the spermicide nonoxynol-9, the Los Angeles Times reports. The letter -- which was signed by state Assembly member Paul Koretz (D), Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson (D), AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein and National Women's Health Network Board Chair Sonja Herbert -- states, "Until recently, N-9 was believed to be an effective chemical barrier against HIV and a variety of other sexually transmitted infections. Recent studies published by [UNAIDS], the World Health Organization, the [CDC] and numerous peer-reviewed medical journals have concluded that N-9 not only does not help prevent sexually transmitted diseases, in some circumstances it actually increases the risk of contracting HIV" (Richardson, Los Angeles Times, 8/28). Nonoxynol-9 works as a vaginal contraceptive by damaging the cell membranes of sperm, and some laboratory evidence has shown that the spermicide damages the cell walls of some organisms that cause STDs and is active against some bacteria and viruses. According to data presented in January, nonoxynol-9's membrane-damaging effect can also harm the cell lining of the vagina and cervix, possibly increasing the risk of STD and HIV transmission in women who use the spermicide (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/17). Approximately 35% of the condoms sold in the United States contain a spermicide, and nonoxynol-9 is currently the only one used. Lawmakers and advocates pointed to condom makers Church & Dwight, which manufactures Trojan condoms, and Australian company Ansell Limited, which makes Lifestyle brand condoms, as manufacturers that use the spermicide. Johnson & Johnson, which makes K-Y lubricant jelly, and Mayer, which makes the Kimono brand of condom, have stopped manufacturing condoms with nonoxynol-9, the Times reports.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.