California lawmakers, HIV activists, and women's advocacy groups on Wednesday sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration and companies that manufacture condoms asking them to stop making condoms that include the spermicide nonoxynol-9, the Los Angeles Times reports. The request was made based on studies showing that the spermicide may actually make it easier to be infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases by irritating epithelial cells in the vagina and anus. About 35% of all condoms sold in the United States include nonoxynol-9.
The letter was signed by Democratic state lawmakers Paul Koretz and Herb Wesson as well as AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein and National Women's Health Network board chair Sonja Herbert. Wesson told the Times that condom makers should "put ethics over profit. They must stop, and they must stop now. It is just the right thing to do." But officials from Church and Dwight, the maker of Trojan condoms, said in a statement that "calls for the market removal of condoms lubricated with the spermicide N-9 could confuse consumers about the benefits of using condoms to reduce the risk of disease transmission and potentially reduce condom use. Any decrease in overall condom use could have significant public-health consequences."