Gynecologic Care provides information to students regarding the various forms of contraception (for birth control and menstrual regulation) and counseling to help you figure out which method is best for you. Oral contraceptives (“the pill”) and condoms are distributed at Student Health for free to students. You can make an appointment with a Gynecologic Care Provider to discuss contraceptive options.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover contraceptive methods (birth control), as prescribed by a health care provider. Contraceptive methods covered by the ACA are birth control patches, birth control pills, birth control rings, birth control shots, cervical cap, contraceptive implant, diaphragm, IUD, permanent contraception methods, emergency contraception and internal condoms.

While not all contraceptive methods are provided at SHS, you can check out the links below for more information about which contraceptive option is best for you:

If you are currently receiving medication from an outside provider you can still get contraception from Gynecologic Care by making an appointment to review your medical history and make sure you are up-to-date with your Pap test. Click here for information about Pap testing.

Click here for the
“Guide for Missed Oral Contraceptive Pills”

Birth Control Options Offered at Student Health

Combined Oral Contraceptives (“COCs”)COCs are made of a combination of synthetic estrogen and progesterone, similar to the natural hormones in your body during your menstrual cycle. These hormones work by thickening one’s cervical mucus, preventing ovulation, and thinning the lining of the uterus. COCs are 99.7 % effective in preventing pregnancy, if taken daily as directed.

Depo Provera InjectionsDepo Provera is an injection of a progestin hormone, DMPA (Medroxyprogesterone Acetate) that is given within the first five days of your period. Each injection prevents pregnancy for three months, so you will need a total of four injections per year. Like other methods of birth control, Depo Provera releases a hormone, progestin, into the body. The progestin in the shot works by preventing ovulation and thickening a woman’s cervical mucus to block sperm. Depo Provera is 99.9 % effective and is one of the most effective methods of birth control available when given at regular intervals every 12 weeks. Depo Provera prescriptions are provided at SHS for pharmacy pick-up.

External & Internal CondomsAn external condom has a protective sheath made of latex/rubber, polyurethane or animal membrane that fits over the penis and keeps sperm from entering the vagina. When used properly, condoms are 85-90% effective in preventing pregnancy. In the event an external condom breaks or slips off, emergency contraception is available at Gynecologic Care and at the cashier at Student Health Services for free.  It should be used as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the unprotected event (refer to “Emergency Contraception”). Condoms are provided for free with a visit to Gynecologic Care and at the cashier in packages of six (6) with your student ID . For instructions on how to use a condom, click here: The internal condom is a thin, loose-fitting nitrile sheath, or pouch with two flexible rings worn during intercourse. One ring lies within the closed end of the sheath, and serves as an insertion mechanism and internal anchor. The other ring forms the external, open edge of the device; it remains outside the vagina after insertion. It entirely lines the vagina and helps to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. There is silicone-based lubricant on the inside of the condom, but additional water based and silicone lubrication can be used. The condom is about 17 cm (6.5 inches) in length (similar to an external condom). The expiration date is five years from the date of manufacture. Its effectiveness ranges from 79% to 95% in preventing pregnancy. The internal condom we carry is called “FC2”. Like the external condom, you must use a new internal condom for each act of sex.

Emergency Contraception

For more information click here.

Typical failure rates of birth control:

  • Depending on which type of birth control:
    • ParaGard IUD: 0.8%
    • Mirena IUD: 0.2%
    • Skyla IUD: 0.4%
    • Implant: 0.05%
    • Injection or “shot” (Depo-Provera): 0.05%
    • Combined oral contraceptives: 5%
    • Progestin only pill: 5-7%
    • Patch: 9%, but may be higher in women who weigh more than 198 lbs.
    • Hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring: 5%

There are two basic ways to get hormonal contraception through Women’s Health:

  1. Gynecologic Care providers can give you a prescription for your current medicaiton and you can take it to the pharmacy. Students on the Penn-sponsored insurance plan (PSIP) can fill contraception prescriptions without a co-pay or deductible for most generic brands. Students on PSIP also have the option for a mail-order pharmacy program and have 3 months of medication mailed to your home at no cost to you. Please discuss this with your Gynecologic Care provider.
  2. Students who do not have PSIP can purchase contraceptive pills at Gynecologic Care. We carry a limited variety of oral contraceptives which can be purchased for $15.00/pack.

NUVA RING: Although we do not offer Nuva Ring at Gynecologic Care, patients interested or actively using the Nuva Ring can make an appointment with a Gynecologic Care Provider to obtain a prescription.


  • Traveling?  Please be sure to plan your contraceptive needs a few weeks prior to your departure.  If you are leaving the country for the summer or for a semester abroad, you can request multiple packs of your pills at the time of your visit in Gynecologic Care or to be called into the pharmacy by calling the pill refill line (215-746-1020).  You should request a “vacation override” prescription. Don’t wait until the last minute!
  • Need a refill of your medication? Call our convenient pill refill line at 215-746-1020. Your order will be ready the next business day and when SHS is open. Click here for more information on refilling your medication.