Despite the current epidemic of sexually transmitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), prevention measures known to be effective are underutilized. Most prevention guidelines have appropriately emphasized abstinence, monogamy between uninfected partners, or condom use. Condoms are highly effective if used consistently and correctly.1 These strategies, however, are not acceptable to some persons at high risk for HIV infection. Furthermore, women at risk for HIV infection must depend on male partners to use condoms. In recent years, the desire to protect women from HIV infection and the sense of desperate need for strategies less dependent on male cooperation have ignited sparks of enthusiasm for vaginal spermicides as a preventive measure. Data to support use of vaginal spermicides, including the nonoxynol 9 sponge, to prevent HIV infection include (1) laboratory studies that showed that nonoxynol 9 and other spermicides inactivate HIV
See also p 477.