According to a press release issued today, the FDA is requiring a new warning on all over the counter stand-alone vaginal contraceptive and spermicidal products. This warning is to inform the public that the spermicide nonoxynol 9 doesn't prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
While this, on the one hand, makes sense - the clinical studies in Africa and Thailand that the press release refers to did show that nonoxynol 9 can irritate mucus membranes, actually increasing the risk for a variety of infections. But on the other hand, do people actually commonly believe, again as the press release suggests, that nonoxynol 9 is an effective barrier against STDs? They very clearly are a contraception, but doesn't our STD education - or even separate HIV education - explain the concept of bodily fluids transmitting infection?
So I admit that while I am neutral on the new packaging (I don't have a lot of faith that people read the directions and warnings in any great detail), I'm sort of baffled with its justification.