If you are sexually active and not planning on having a family any time soon, you should consider taking contraceptives. Along with the ease of mind of being less likely to get pregnant, hormonal birth control, such as the pill and hormonal IUDs, can minimize menstrual cramps, help control hormonal acne and reduce risks of developing ovarian cysts and cancer. But it can be hard to know where to get contraceptives while at college. Here’s a guide to start you off.
Several companies offer birth control pills over the mail, such as The Pill Club, Nurx, PRJKT RUBY, hers and many more. All you need to do is sign up online and enter your insurance card information, address and the type of pill you want. It’s time-convenient and packages are discreet. If you don’t have insurance or don’t want your parents to see it on their plan, mail services also have some of the cheapest prices for birth control at around $15 to $30 per package and have online health assessments to find out which type of pill is best for you. The Pill Club also adds goodies to their packages, like chocolates and stickers, for free. Nurx also does HPV testing, HIV PrEP — preexposure prophylaxis — and STI testing through the mail at additional costs. And to be on the safe side, multiple companies also will give you free emergency contraceptive pills if you request them and qualify under your insurance plan.
Decker Student Health Services Center
Decker Student Health Services Center on campus offer a variety of women’s health services, including Pap smears, STI testing, emergency contraceptives and birth control options. Currently, Decker Student Health Services Center offers the birth control pill, diaphragms and Depo-Provera, an injection contraceptive. All of these services require an appointment to talk to a nurse and see which option is best for you. Emergency contraceptive pills are $15 at Decker Student Health Services Center, compared to almost $40 at pharmacies off campus. And, best of all, these services are covered under the student health fee you pay with your tuition. Depending on what type of contraceptive you get, you may need to provide insurance or pay some money out of pocket for a prescription. The easiest contraceptives to find on campus for free are condoms, which are available to pick up at Decker Student Health Services Center, in most residential halls’ RA offices and at offices for the Q Center and the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC).
For those who want to see a gynecologist or a doctor that specializes in women’s health, there are a few clinics off campus that offer a wider variety of options for birth control, emergency contraceptives and doctors to talk to. Family Planning of South Central New York at 117 Hawley St. offers a variety of services including birth control, gynecology exams and pregnancy tests and is accessible through the Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) buses, as it is a nine-minute walk from the University Downtown Center. Amy R. Cousins, MD at 149 Vestal Pkwy W. is the only clinic in the area that offers abortion services alongside birth control options. The downside is that these clinics can be expensive without insurance.
Remember to research all your options before deciding how you want to get contraceptives and which options you will pursue. Keep in mind factors such as existing health problems, accessibility and how likely it is for you to keep up with the contraceptive you get. If finding a daily time to take a birth control pill is hard, you may want to consider getting an IUD. If you don’t want to take a hormonal contraceptive, consider condoms, copper IUDs or diaphragms. At the end of the day, it is your body and your choice.