By Alma Knutson
I got my first period in April 2008. From this point on, my body’s ability to procreate could be the most disabling agent in my life. This was especially emphasized to me by teachers and parents in a county where every middle school and high school had multiple teenage moms.
I’m not 21 yet but turning 20 was a much bigger deal - it meant I had beat teen pregnancy. I recently got an IUD, but still, every time my cycle is a day late, I freak out about the possibility of being pregnant. Attending the University of Michigan, a world-renowned institution, has made me realize that I have even more to lose these days.
Now, more than ever, an unplanned pregnancy is the biggest threat to my future.
The University of Michigan is home to more than 44,718 students, 48.7% of whom are female. This means that for 21,789 students, getting knocked up is a risk that looms over our heads.
So how do we avoid this reproductive pitfall?
Some of us practice abstinence, sure, but for the 60-80% of sexually active students, the most practical option is to turn to contraceptives. These include condoms, birth control pills, the Nuva Ring, IUDs, birth control implants, the patch, and the Depo shot, to name a few. All except condoms require prescriptions or device insertion by a physician. Traditionally, in order to get a prescription, you need to consult with a doctor in person at an appointment first. It usually takes between one and two appointments with a doctor or nurse practitioner to choose a method, and once you choose you either have to pick it up from a pharmacy or return for an insertion procedure.
All of this is extremely time-consuming.
Just making an appointment can take upwards of 30 minutes: you have to play phone tag with the appointment scheduler for a couple hours in-between classes until you actually get in touch with them. After that nuisance, you’ll probably spend about 30 minutes in the waiting room before your appointment, 15 minutes (TOPS) with the provider, and then between 30 and 45 minutes waiting at the pharmacy to pick up your prescription, which may or may not be covered by your health insurance at that particular pharmacy, if you have it. Then, every three months you have to repeat the wait at the pharmacy.
What if I told you there was a way for you to complete this entire procedure online in less than ten minutes?
I recently discovered Nurx and PRJKT RUBY. These two companies are online resources that help women choose the right birth control for them (online options include many different oral contraceptives, the Nuva ring, Plan B, and the birth control patch) and actually prescribes it to them! Nurx and PRJKT RUBY then ship your prescription to users’ door every three months for as long as you like! To make things even better, Nurx accepts almost every health insurance, and even if they don’t accept a particular provider or if you don’t have insurance, the most expensive birth control is only $30 a month. While PRJKT RUBY does not currently accept insurance, the most they charge is $20 a month. This is the most streamlined, time-efficient, and cost-effective way for women to obtain their birth control.
Another awesome product that Nurx offers is PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a daily anti-HIV medication. PrEP is taken by HIV-negative individuals to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. In order to be as effective as possible, PrEP has to be taken daily. When it is taken correctly, PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV contraction from sex by more than 90%. If you think you are an individual at risk of contracting HIV, you can request a PrEP prescription at nurx.com.
Similarly to ordering birth control from Nurx, individuals just have to enter their contact, insurance, and shipping information online; the only additional step is getting tested for HIV/AIDS at a local clinic, which only takes about 15 minutes, and you should be tested anyways if you are sexually active with a new partner or have never been tested! The prescription is then quickly delivered every three months, eliminating the pharmacy hassle and making sure there isn’t any gap time between daily doses, thus maintaining the effectiveness of the medication!
Nurx and PRJKT RUBY just launched in Michigan, so if you are looking for discreet, streamlined, and cost-effective access to birth control and/or PrEP, check them out.