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is vaginal spermicide a safe and efficient way to prevent pregnancy, and is it easy for a teen to find at her local drug store?

Used alone, spermicides are among the least reliable methods of birth control — even with perfect use, they are only up to 85 percent effective against pregnancy, and they offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections. However, using a condom, along with spermicide, increases effectiveness to nearly 100 percent.

Spermicide foam, cream, jelly, film, and suppositories are inserted deep into the vagina shortly before intercourse. The chemical spermicide that they contain makes sperm stop moving, preventing it from joining with an egg.

Spermicide is available at family planning clinics, drugstores, and some supermarkets.

Tags: spermicide, birth control