Birth Control (Contraception)

“Contraceptive” is another name for birth control. There are a variety of birth control options available. Student Health Services providers can discuss contraceptive options and provide information about sexual health. Call 703-993-2831 to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.

Student Health Services can write prescriptions for all oral contraceptives (birth control pills), NuvaRing, Seasonale, Ortho Evra Patch, barrier methods, and Depo-Provera. Most prescriptions can be filled at a local pharmacy. Emergency Contraception is available at Student Health Clinics for a fee.

Referrals can be given for students seeking the hormonal implant, IUD’s, and barrier method fittings.

Individual Mason students can pick up FREE external (male) condoms, dental dams, and lubrication from the sexual health dispenser in the SUB 1 Patriots Lounge during building hours. The dispenser is on the wall between the restrooms in Patriot Lounge. Another dispenser is in the Johnson Center, 1st floor, on the wall by blue lockers near the entrance on the east side. RAs & RSOs should submit the Safer Sex Condom Request Form for residence halls and events.

Menstrual products are also available in the sexual health dispensers.

Contraceptive Options

Each link will take you to the Center for Young Women’s Health website to learn more about birth control options. Talk with your healthcare provider about risks and benefits of each form of contraceptive to help determine the best choice for you.

Additional Information

Learn even more about birth control from Planned Parenthood and the Centers for Disease Control. The Reproductive Health Access Project has information and good resource on birth control across the gender spectrum.

If you have health insurance, under the Affordable Care Act, many plans cover contraceptive counseling and contraceptive methods, as prescribed by a health care provider and detailed in your plan benefits. Learn more at or contact your health insurance provider.

Emergency Contraception

Student Health Services provides Emergency Contraception for a fee ($10). Call 703-993-2831 to schedule an appointment. When a student comes to the clinic, the student will meet with a nurse. If needed, a pregnancy test will be performed (there is an additional fee for the test). The nurse will give the student information on how emergency contraceptives work and the student will have an opportunity to ask questions.

What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. Emergency contraception can be used when a condom breaks or another birth control method does not work successfully, after a sexual assault, or when unprotected sexual intercourse occurs.

Emergency contraception pills (ECPs) are most effective if used within the first 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse occurs.

ECPs consist of hormones used in oral contraceptives.  Depending on the time they are taken during the menstrual cycle, ECPs may inhibit or delay ovulation, alter transport of the egg or sperm, interfere with fertilization, or alter the lining of the uterus thereby inhibiting implantation of a fertilized egg.

Emergency contraception is not the same as RU486 (Mifepristone).  It will not interfere with an existing pregnancy.  It is meant for emergencies only and should not be used as an ongoing method of contraception. Additionally, emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Emergency contraception is also available “over-the-counter”, which means you can purchase it at a pharmacy or retail store without a prescription. Ask a staff member or pharmacist if you need assistance locating it. Additionally, emergency contraception is available for purchase in the SUB 1 Vengo vending machine on Mason’s campus.

Depo-Provera Injection Appointments

If a student is interested in receiving Depo-Provera injections at Student Health Services, call to schedule an appointment with a Student Health Services provider if it is their first visit to the clinic or the first time they are getting the Depo-Provera injection at Student Health Services. There is a fee for the injection.

At the time of the initial visit, the patient may either bring the medication or the patient can be prescribed the medication.  If Depo-Provera is prescribed at the initial visit the patient must schedule a follow-up appointment to receive the injection.

If a patient remains within the Depo-Provera schedule, they may schedule follow-up appointments with a Student Health nurse after the initial visit.

It is helpful to have a copy of the most recent pap test (cervical cancer screening) from a patient’s healthcare provider, but not required. Pap tests are recommended to be performed regularly. Patients can schedule an appointment with Student Health for this test.

Contraindications to Combined Hormonal Contraception

The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COCP), often referred to as the birth control pill, or simply “the Pill,” is a combination of an estrogen (oestrogen) and a progestin (progestogen), taken by mouth to inhibit normal female fertility.

You may increase your risk to problems related to COCP if you have:

  • Blood clots or history of blood clots
  • A history of stroke or heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Known or suspected breast cancer, or cancer of uterus, cervix or vagina
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin) during pregnancy or during previous use of the pill
  • Liver tumor
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • A planned surgery with prolonged bed-rest
  • Though not listed by the FDA, most clinicians consider smoking in someone older than 35 to be a contraindication. The World Health Organization (WHO) does list this as a contraindication.