Every time I go to work at my clinic site, I am reminded that not everyone is fortunate enough to have health insurance or can afford prescription medications.  Fortunately, there are a few places in everyone’s local town or city that offers free or low-cost birth control.

You may want to check with your local health department first.  They can usually provide you with contraception for free or for a small nominal fee based on your monthly/yearly income.  Just remember to bring proof of income such as a month’s worth of pay stubs or your most recent W-2 form.

You can also try Planned Parenthood.  Just like the health department, you may be able to receive low-cost birth control when  you bring proof of income.  They receive bonus points because they also accept walk-ins…just make sure you get there as early as possible in big cities because the line may be super long.

If you are a college student, your student health clinic usually offers contraception at a discounted price.

If the aforementioned places aren’t readily available, try calling a gynecologist’s office near your neighborhood.  Most doctors can give you a couple of months supply of contraception if you ask.  If they won’t give them out for free, try negotiating a deal you can afford.

Check out bedsider.org.  They can help you find a clinic, emergency contraception, and OTC contraception methods.

You may also want to ask your sex partner(s) to help pay for your birth control.  Any man should be more than willing to foot the bill if it’ll prevent any mistakes unintended pregnancies (it’s a lot cheaper than paying for an abortion or raising a child).  If you aren’t comfortable asking  your dude for birth control money maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be having sex him. IJS

Keep in mind that a pelvic exam or Pap smear isn’t mandatory in order to get a prescription for contraception.  However, a short office visit to discuss your medical history and all available options is necessary for your safety.  It will be helpful if you do a little research beforehand and make a list of all the types pf birth control that you are interested in.  Be sure to take into account whether or not you want hormones, how often you want to have to think about it, route of administration, and possible side effects.  Make a wants versus don’t want table to help you make a decision with your healthcare provider.

The withdrawal method should never be an option because it’s not very effective for preventing pregnancy or diseases.  Condoms should be used to prevent STDs, but they aren’t always reliable as contraception.  Abstinence or self/mutual pleasuring methods besides vaginal penetration should be considered until you can get a prescription for more effective methods of birth control.

Remember ladies, keep a healthy demeanor, both inside and out.

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