Written By: Carol Anne Austin, MA (M.Ed. student in Counseling Psychology at OISE)
Contraception/birth control can be a substantial cost for individuals or couples trying to avoid pregnancy. Some forms of monthly hormonal contraception can be upwards of $40+ per month! Some brand-name condoms are $15+ for a 12-pack and about the same price for a 6-pack of polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms for people with latex allergies! It can be a real drag to fork out the cash at these prices!!!
BUT there is good news! As a new student to the University of Toronto I have been pleasantly pleased by the sexual health services and contraception access available to me. One great resource is the Sexual Education Centre at the University of Toronto http://sec.sa.utoronto.ca. They give…wait for it…..FREE condoms, lube, nitrile gloves, and dental dams! They have a whole menu to check out of different types and styles to match your preference. You can take as many as you like and you can even get them in bulk orders! This can be a great way to take one cost off the books. They don’t offer any hormonal contraception at the Sexual Education Centre because you need a doctor’s prescription….However, Health Services at the University of Toronto, http://healthservices.utoronto.ca/main.htm , can provide the prescription and most forms of hormonal contraception at reduced prices (see price menu at http://healthservices.utoronto.ca/Services-Offered/Birth-Control.htm).
At health services the doctor’s like to make sure that women are having their PAP checks regularly to test for cervical cancer when they prescribe hormonal contraception. If you need contraception like NOW but haven’t had your PAP the doctors will provide you with a short term prescription and book you a physical at the same time. Sometimes at other clinics it can a long time to book a physical to get a PAP tests, however my experience at health services was super quick. I walked in on a Wednesday and booked an appointment for that Friday and the doctors and nurses were very nice and thorough. OR if you have already had your PAP for the year you can have your doctor’s forward the date of your last one and they write a prescription up for you. You pick up the contraception right there at the clinic, so no need to run out to a pharmacy. They also provide Emergency Contraception (EC) at $20 each, which is more than half the cost than at local pharmacies. At local pharmacies you can get it off the shelf and don’t see to see a doc, but at health services they insist you see one to get the pill. So if you have a little time to hang out in the waiting room you can save some cash.
So these are some of the great services we have available to us to get contraception on campus. Although one down side is that unfortunately Health Services can only see students themselves and cannot provide services to families or partners. So while you’re a student at UToronto take advantage of these money saving services and get your contraception for cheap!