On any college campus, condoms are one of the many freebies available to students. But what other forms of birth control are available to students to ensure safe sex?
At UH, internal and external condoms are available at the Women and Gender Resource Center and LBGT Resource Center on the second floor of the Student Center North. Look no further than the UH Health Center’s Women’s Clinic.
The Women’s Health Clinic — located in the Student Service Center 2 — provides an array of services to students from well-woman exams to routine pap smears. Not only are gynecological complaints evaluated, but contraception and STD tests and treatments are also available.
The clinic is staffed by a nurse practitioner and a physician with specialized training in women’s health. Referral to specialists may be obtained through the clinic if a particular treatment is not available on campus. Visits are available to all currently enrolled UH students by appointment, which can be set up by calling 713-743-5156.
The Women’s Clinic also offers contraceptive sponges and spermicides as over-the-counter birth control methods.
Prescription methods like birth control pills, vaginal rings (Nuvaring) and “the shot” (Depo-Provera) are a few of the hormonal treatments available. Non-hormonal options such as diaphragms, cervical caps and shields are other alternatives that can be prescribed and inserted. Permanent procedures such as tubal sterilization are also an option.
For other options like the patch (Ortho-Evra), implants like Implanon or Nexplanon, or an Intrauterine Device or IUD, students have to seek an off-campus healthcare provider. Hormonal IUD (Mirena and Skyla) and nonhormonal IUD with copper (Paragard) are also options to consider.
Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected (penis-in-vagina) sex but should never be used as an alternative to birth control. Emergency Contraception such as Plan B One-Step is not available on campus. Emergency Contraception pills can cost between $35 and $60 (or more) when purchased at a pharmacy, according to a report from the American Society for Emergency.
There are ways to obtain a discount on emergency contraception, and Plan B One-Step offers a $10 coupon on its website. Download and print the coupon and bring it with you to a store that carries Plan B. Costs may vary among retailers, so check with your local stores for current retail prices.
Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Sliding Scale can also help with calculating the amount of coverage for Plan B. Check with your health insurance provider to see if your coverage can pay for the cost of emergency contraception.
Although not discounted, another option is the copper IUD, which can be inserted as and used as Emergency Contraception for up to five days after unprotected sex.
Remember: bodies are diverse and will react differently with different methods and brands. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any sort of birth control and to find the right one for your body. Contact your insurance provider to see if you qualify for free or reduced birth control options.
No matter the cost, your health is a priceless priority.
Whether your contraception is found on or off campus, make sure the option is best suited for your needs with the help of a physician.