College can be a confusing time for a whole lot of reasons, but nothing can be quite as daunting as buying contraception, particularly if you go to a more conservative or religious school. After all, where can you buy condoms, get birth control or purchase emergency contraception if it’s not available in your campus health center or in your dorm?
Luckily, we’ve put together a list of places for you to go (both in person and online) to get whatever contraception you’re looking for as well as pros and cons of each!
While you can’t get many forms of birth control (pills, IUDs, the works) without a prescription, you can purchase condoms and some emergency contraception (like Plan B) at your neighborhood drugstore.
Drugstores are a great option if you live in a more urban or suburban area or if you’re just close to a town’s center. Afraid of being judged when buying these items? Don’t be; most shoppers won’t be paying attention to what you’re buying! And remember, collegiettes: It’s totally normal (and also really smart) to buy contraception if you’re having sex, so you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
However, if you’re still nervous about being recognized or just buying contraception around others, Marcy*, a junior at Wheaton College, recommends driving to a drugstore further away if it makes you more comfortable. “I felt really awkward about going into a drugstore when I knew other students from school would probably be there, too,” she says. “Instead, I drove to one about 10 minutes away to buy condoms. It seems a little over the top, but it made me feel a lot better.”
An obvious disadvantage of trying to purchase contraception at a drugstore is that, depending on your campus, you may need to take transportation to get there, which might be hard if you’re in a rural area and don’t have access to a car.
There’s also the added risk that there may not be the amount of privacy you were hoping for (as in, there’s no way of guaranteeing that someone from your college won’t be there).
Planned Parenthood, a reproductive health care provider, has 716 locations across all 50 states in the U.S., and you can most likely find one near you .
These health centers offer birth control, condoms and other sexual health products and services to college students. If you’re able to get transportation, it’s definitely worth checking out!
Additionally, if you’d just like to know more about the various types of contraception before you go in for an appointment, Planned Parenthood’s website has resources on many topics, everything from emergency contraception to sexuality.
Like going to a drugstore, your nearest Planned Parenthood location might require transportation other than walking. Additionally, depending on your area, there are some stigmas regarding Planned Parenthood and its work and there may be protesters around, so definitely be aware of the situation in your location before heading in.
Family Planning Health Services
FPHS makes Plan B extremely accessible for those who can’t find it around school or in a neighborhood drugstore. Plus, the online transaction means more privacy for the buyer.
One extremely important note about FPHS: The website does not offer expedited shipping, meaning it’s more of a preventative measure than an in-crisis one. In other words, if you’re looking to by emergency contraception in case of a future incident, you should use FPHS to buy Plan B. If you’ve already had unprotected sex and are looking to get contraception online, buying it off of FPHS means it probably won’t come fast enough (since emergency contraception generally has to be taken within five days to be effective).
AfterPill is a generic version of Plan B One-Step. It can be bought online for $20 plus $5 shipping.
Like FPHS’s website, AfterPill.com allows you to buy emergency contraception in the privacy of your own home without having to go into a doctor’s office or drugstore.
AfterPill’s website has the same caution as buying Plan B from FPHS: It does not have expedited shipping, meaning that it should be bought for preparation in the case of a future emergency as opposed to an incident of unprotected sex that has already happened.
If you’re looking to buy ella, a newer emergency contraception pill, you can check out KwikMed, an online marketplace for FDA-approved drugs related to sexual health. On KwikMed, the pill is priced at $59, and a KwikMed Physician reviews your order upon checkout.
The company promises fast delivery (since emergency contraception is time-sensitive) as well as discreet packaging for customers.
Joyce*, a senior at a small Southern Christian college, tried KwikMed last year when she needed emergency contraception. “I was extremely anxious ordering something online since I wasn’t sure how reliable it’d be, but I’m so glad I used KwikMed,” she says. “My package came extremely quickly in a normal-looking box, which was a huge relief for me when I had to pick it up.”
On KwikMed, the pill is priced at $59, which may be a steep amount to pay for many collegiettes.
Overall, there are plenty of ways to buy contraception if it’s unavailable on your campus! Just make sure you do your research beforehand and prepare in case of a future emergency. Be smart and be safe, collegiettes!
*Names have been changed.