The sponge is a contraceptive method that works in two ways. A sponge is inserted into the vagina and covers the cervix. It functions as a barrier method that serves to block sperm from entering the uterus. The sponge also contains spermicide which inhibits the mobility of the sperm.
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There are three brands of sponges: Pharmatex, which is sold in France and Quebec; Protectaid, which is sold in Europe and Canada exclusive of Quebec; and Today, which is sold in the US. Pharmatex and Protectaid are sold ready to use while the Today sponge needs to be run under water to activate its spermicide.
The rates of effectiveness for pregnancy prevention are as follows Pharmatex: 81%-99%, Protectaid: 77%-91%, Today 84%-91%. No sponge is effective in protecting against STIs.