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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 


     
     

Officials Target Spermicide in Condoms
Los Angeles Times (08.28.03)::Lisa Richardson
*********************************************

Behind-the-scenes efforts to persuade some of the largest condom
manufacturers to stop using a spermicide that may increase the risk of HIV
and urinary tract infection have failed, so several California
legislators, AIDS activists and women's groups set out Wednesday to shame
them into it.

At a news conference in Sacramento, Assemblymember Paul Koretz (D-West
Hollywood) and Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson expressed frustration after
the presidents of three major condom producers recently refused to meet
with them to discuss the spermicide nonoxynol-9. "Since January, I've
tried to negotiate quietly with representatives... to encourage them to
phase out nonoxynol-9," said Koretz.

Koretz, Wesson, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein,
Sonja Herbert of the National Women's Health Network and others signed an
open letter to the Food and Drug Administration, retailers and condom and
lubricant makers. "Until recently, N-9 was believed to be an effective
chemical barrier against HIV and a variety of other sexually transmitted
infections," said the letter. "Recent studies published by [UNAIDS], the
World Health Organization, [CDC] and numerous peer-reviewed medical
journals have concluded the N-9 not only does not help prevent [STDs], in
some circumstances it actually increases the risk of contracting HIV."

 




Wesson, who said he has lost three family members to AIDS, called on the
companies to put ethics over profit. Assemblymember Sally Lieber
(D-Mountain View) stressed that the letter-signers did not object to the
use of N-9 in over-the-counter vaginal spermicides specifically used for
birth control.

Among manufacturers cited at the conference were Church & Dwight, maker of
Trojans, and Ansell Limited, an Australia-based company that makes
Lifestyles condoms. Other condom producers such as Johnson and Johnson and
Mayer have stopped using N-9.

In a statement, Church & Dwight said consumers could become confused by
the calls for market removal, resulting in reduced condom use. Rather,
condom makers "are already working with the FDA on revised labeling" for
condoms with N-9 "to ensure they are used appropriately."

Around 35 percent of condoms sold in the United States contain a
spermicide, and N-9 is the only one used.

 





Source: CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update 08/29/03