What are they?

Spermicides can come in the form of vaginal creams, foams, films, suppositories and sponges. They are inserted into the body before sex and contain chemicals that kill sperm.  


  • Easy to hide.
  • Easy to get at stores and clinics.
  • Can be inserted up to 1 hour before having sex.


  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
  • When used alone, spermicides are not good protection against pregnancy and have a high failure rate.
  • Spermicides can irritate the vagina and cause rashes which make it easier to get an STD or HIV. 

Who uses spermicides?

People who have issues with hormonal BC (like the pill) or want prescription-free BC. It is often used with a barrier method (like condoms) for added protection.

How do you use spermicides?

Spermicides are creams, gels, foams, or suppositories that kill sperm. They are inserted into the vagina from an hour to at least 15 minutes before having sex. They are ALWAYS used with another form of BC: condoms, the diaphragm or the cervical cap.  

Where do you get spermicides?

Spermicides are available at drugstores, supermarkets and clinics. You don’t need a prescription or ID to buy them.

How effective are spermicides?

Spermicides are 75% effective.

Do spermicides offer STD protection?

NO. For STD protection use condoms with this method.