April 9, 2003
California Assemblymember Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) has introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 16 urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban condoms and lubricants with the spermicide nonoxynol-9. AJR16 is joint-authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and is co-authored by six other California legislators.
Although it was once theorized that N-9 would reduce the risk of HIV transmission, later studies have shown just the opposite. N-9 has been shown to significantly increase HIV risk because it strips away the protective epithelial cells that line the anus and vagina.
"America's three largest condom brands, Trojan, Lifestyles, and Durex, have refused to remove nonoxynol-9 from their products despite scientific evidence that N-9 increases the risk of HIV and other infections," Koretz said. "To protect public health, I urge the FDA to ban the sale of condoms and sexual lubricants with the additive N-9. I also call on manufacturers to stop producing N-9 condoms and ask retailers to stop selling these harmful products." AJR16 calls for the preservation of N-9 as an active ingredient in contraceptive creams, gels, and foams as a contraceptive option for women at low risk for HIV until a safer spermicide is developed. There is no evidence that N-9 offers any contraceptive benefit when added to condoms and lubricants.
AJR16 is sponsored by the Southern California HIV/AIDS Advocacy Coalition, a group of AIDS service providers and HIV-positive individuals who advocate for sound HIV public policy.
The resolution will likely go to the Assembly Health Committee before being put to the full Assembly for a vote. If passed in the Assembly, it will then proceed to a Senate committee before going before the full Senate for a vote.
An FDA ban of N-9 lubricants would mean that stores could no longer sell existing stock of the products, and it would prevent manufacturers from reintroducing N-9 lubricants.