Contraception Options

What exactly are your options when approaching safe sex? There are a variety of methods to prevent unintended pregnancy and/or STI transmission, and they break down into a few major categories, each with their own pros and cons.

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Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) are a set of extremely effective options that are long-acting and flexible enough to suit your life if your birth control needs change. Some are hormonal, some are not, but they don’t provide STI protection.

Examples include the IUD and the implant. If you’re looking for something super effective,  low-stress, and long-term, LARCs are the way to go.

Hormonal methods  release hormones into your body that prevent the release, fertilization, and implantation of an egg. This means that they’re great at preventing pregnancy, but don’t protect against STI transmission.


Examples include the pill and the shot. Hormonal methods are perfect for those who don’t want to have to worry about birth control in the heat of the moment. 

Barrier methods do exactly what it sounds like--they provide a physical barrier that prevents sperm from meeting an egg, and STIs from passing between partners.


Examples include condoms and dental dams. You use them during sex, and need to use a new one each time. Barrier methods are great because they prevent both pregnancy and STIs, and they’re cheap and easily accessible. 

Emergency contraception is taken after unprotected sex or birth control failure to prevent a pregnancy before it starts.

Same day appointments for emergency contrception prescriptions are available at Student Health Service.

Examples include the Plan B pill or emergency insertion of a copper IUD. There are also treatment plans to reduce the risk of HIV transmission if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus. These options provide peace of mind and protection when you need it the most. 

For general information about a variety of birth control options, check out Bedsideras well as this comprehensive chart comparing all available methods.