Why Planned Parenthood is a Crucial Resource for Sexual Health

“Care. No matter what.” That’s Planned Parenthood’s slogan and in the United States where privatized healthcare prevents so many people from affordable care, it means a lot. According to the US Census Bureau in 2017, 28.5 million Americans are without health insurance. But, whether you’re insured or not, Planned Parenthood is a valuable resource for sexual health and education. Here are 7 resources they provide that you might not know about:

1. Accessible Birth Control

Planned Parenthood offers consultations to help you find the right birth control for you. They can write prescriptions for the pill or NuvaRing and it’s up to you whether you’d like to pick up your refills from the nearest pharmacy or the clinic itself. If you’re uninsured, I’d recommend picking up your prescription refills from the clinic as Planned Parenthood will be able to adjust the price according to your monthly household income whereas, from a pharmacy, you’ll most likely pay full price. They also provide IUD and Nexplanon insertions at their clinics as well.

2. Reproductive Health Care

They offer checkups for any reproductive or sexual health-related concerns, as well as any help with irregular bleeding or other menstrual problems. Pap tests, breast exams and cervical cancer screenings are available. Testing and treatment for urinary tract or vaginal infections are provided as well. Furthermore, testicular and prostate cancer screenings are available. Treatment for erectile dysfunction and referrals for premature ejaculation and jock itch are also provided.

3. General Health Care

This was a surprise even to me, but Planned Parenthood provides physical exams for employment and sports. They offer several screenings for colon cancer, high blood pressure, thyroid and cholesterol. You can have blood work done too.  

Related: Finding the Right Birth Control for You

4. Pregnancy Testing and Other Services

Planned Parenthood offers pregnancy tests, which are routinely done as urine tests, but blood can be drawn if medically necessary and upon the patient’s request. They have qualified staff that will discuss your options if you are pregnant; with Planned Parenthood you can have access to adoption referrals as well as abortion services.

5. STD and HIV Testing, Treatment, Vaccines

STD testing, diagnosis and treatment is provided for bacterial vaginosis (BV), chlamydia, genital warts, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis and trichomoniasis (trich). HIV testing and diagnosis is also available. Condoms, female condoms and the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) are also provided.

6. Emergency Contraception

Planned Parenthood provides several options for emergency contraception such as Plan B (and other similar brands) and Ella. Additionally, you also have access to copper IUD insertion with a scheduled appointment.

7. Counseling and Education

As mentioned earlier, Planned Parenthood has trained staff that can offer you counseling and education on anything mentioned above. Their website is also a great resource for any information you might be looking for regarding your health.

All of these services may be covered by your insurance. But, even if you are uninsured, your local Planned Parenthood clinic will calculate the cost of the service based on your monthly household income. Chances are that as a full-time student, your service will be free of charge. Unfortunately, due to cultural stigmas and inadequate sex education in public schools, seeking care for your sexual health can be daunting. That’s certainly how I felt when I decided to take agency over my own body and sought birth control. My local clinic made that easy for me; they can make it easy for you too. So, what are you waiting for? Find your nearest clinic.