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Nonoxonyl-9 Spermicide May Increase HIV Transmission

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Original Date of Publication: 26 Sep 2002
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Home » LGBT Health News » Nonoxonyl-9 Spermicide May Increase HIV Transmission

Urgent Message to Gay and Bisexual Men

Stop Using Lubricants and Condoms Containing Nonoxonyl-9, says Gay Lesbian Medical Association
September 26, 2002

San Francisco—Nonoxonyl-9 (N-9), often used in the manufacture of lubricants and lubricated condoms, does not protect against HIV transmission, and may actually increase vulnerability to transmission in some cases, said Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) President Christopher E. Harris, MD.

GLMA is a member of a coalition of scientists and health groups calling for the removal of N-9 from condoms and lubricants. However, GLMA wants the message to go to gay and bisexual men as well: Do not use products containing N-9.

"Nonoxonyl 9 is a spermicide," said Harris. "At one time it was thought that the ingredient might offer some protection against HIV. It does not. Recent research indicates that using N-9 rectally might cause the thin layers of cells that line the rectum to become inflamed, possibly enhancing the risk of HIV transmission, especially when multiple sex partners are involved."

Harris does not want to wait for manufacturers to stop making products containing N-9 or for retailers to pull the products from their shelves.

"We need to get the message out there right now," Harris said. "When you buy condoms or lubricants, look at the label. Health care providers, it is your job to see that this message gets to your patients. N-9 does not prevent the transmission of HIV or other STDs. N-9 offers no benefit to men who have sex with men. On the contrary, it might prove harmful. There are lubricants out there that do not contain N-9."

The GLMA President said that he hoped there would soon be a microbicide that would prevent the transmission of HIV and other STDs, but that at this moment, there are none.

More information on Nonoxynol-9 and microbicides for HIV prevention may be found at

LGBT Health News, Nonoxonyl-9 Spermicide May Increase HIV Transmission reprinted with permission from
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