By Lauren Strapagiel
In our last Love and Sex survey we found 69 per cent of Ryerson students polled had done the deed, meaning you might get lucky this year. But before you get dirty, get protected at Ryerson’s Medical Centre.
For the ladies, the Medical Centre can provide prescriptions for the pill, but there are other hormonal contraceptive options available. The NuvaRing is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month to release hormones over a three-week period and then removed for menstruation. Another offering is the Depo-Provera injection which provides 12 weeks of pregnancy protection with each shot.
The clinic also supplies the contraceptive patch. Like the way a nicotine patch releases nicotine, the birth control patch releases hormones into the body, except instead of quitting smoking you’re preventing your own personal Juno.
Occasionally the Centre will have samples of the pill, NuvaRings and the patch, but otherwise you’ll need a prescription. Remember: these birth control methods do not protect against STIs, so pick up some condoms. The RSU health plan covers 80 per cent of hormonal contraception. If you have private medical insurance, it might not cost you a cent. Your health card will cover your consultation.
The doctor at your consultation will help you pick the best method. If you have been getting it on for at least six to 12 months, Dr. Su-Ting Teo, Director of Student Health and Wellness, said that you should get a Pap test done. If you’re looking for a prescription that lasts more than three months, it may even be required.
“The regular procedure for a consultation includes taking a medical history, discussing risk factors, benefits, side effects, proper use and taking blood pressure and weight,” she said.
At your consultation you can also talk about the HPV vaccine, which can protect you against the types of the human papillomavirus that cause cervical cancer. The vaccine will run you about $400, but can be provided at the Medical Centre at a reduced cost.
Too late for you?
If you’ve had unprotected sex, emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill or Plan B, serves as your first line of defence. It can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, but the sooner the better. The Medical Centre can provide a prescription but you can also pick it up over the counter at pharmacies. It typically costs $35 to $45.
Also important for both guys and gals after unprotected sex is STI and HIV testing. Both are provided at the Medical Centre, as well as some treatments if you do get infected. And even if you were wearing a glove for the love, regular testing is always a good idea.