Before you hit the back button in horror that some person that you don’t even know is going to attempt to give you a lecture on having safe sex (and trust me, I would just be as bored by the talk as you. It would consist me going “Grab a condom, go on the pill, have at it.”), don’t be so alarmed. It’s more like… Giving you ideas of where to go and get things in order to have safe sex. Especially if you’re a post-secondary student and you don’t really want to go to your family doctor for a prescription for the pill.
Condoms: Your school is highly likely to have a health clinic. These are great. It’s drop-in, it’s usually free for students and, more often than not, they will have a bowl or a basket near the entrance full of condoms. My school has a walk-in clinic as well as a small kiosk desk where there’s a basket of free condoms. All you have to do, is walk in, act like you own the place, bend your knees a bit and swipe a small handful. Don’t grab too many, it’ll either make you look incredibly cheap or make you look like you think you’re going to be getting incredibly lucky. Most likely these free condoms will be a well-known brand (think: sponsors of the health clinic) and are highly likely to be latex. So if you’re allergic to latex condoms, you’re kind of out of luck here. Sorry about that.
Birth Control Pills: Although with your health clinic at school, you can probably find (if you do a quick internet search, or even at your school’s health clinic) someplace that offers free birth control pills. The catch is, of course, that they’ll need to keep some kind of record of you. When getting a prescription for birth control pills, they will have to take your blood pressure and note your weight. This information will be referred to again when you go back to get your prescription refilled. The upside to free clinics is that it’s a) free, b) is on a drop-in basis (no appointments necessary) and c) hopefully easy to access. The downside? Well, for starters, you may have a different doctor/nurse looking at you every single time. You do eventually have to get gynecological tests done, and you may not want that done by a doctor at a drop-in clinic. If the place offers it free, there is bound to be lots of other people there too, so wait-times may be long.
Pregnancy Tests: I get it, you’re young, somewhat successful, at the top of your game and about to graduate at the top of your class when you realize that you missed your last period completely and you’ve been feeling nauseous in the morning. So you could go out and buy a handful of pregnancy tests (and those can add up, especially if you’re not producing enough hormones to get a positive if you are), or you go can go to that handy-dandy health clinic that your school has. Most school clinics do offer free pregnancy tests, and you can also try to find a local free women’s health drop-in clinic as well if you don’t want to go to the one at school or another clinic.
Other Information: Health clinics should always be able to provide you with accurate information regarding sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy options and anything else you need information on that is health-related. All you have to do is ask them for the information and they should be able to provide you with a pamphlet.
Michelle’s safe sex spiel: Yeah, I’m sure you were waiting for this. Either don’t have sex (boring, much?) or have sex, but be responsible. No form of birth control is 100% foolproof if you’re actually having sex. Take the pill, use condoms, use spermicidal jelly. And always (always, always, always) talk to your partner about contraception usage. Maybe they’re assuming you’re on the pill, maybe you’re assuming that they don’t have HIV. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Now go and fun.