Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all contraceptive methods are covered under your United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) or other insurance plan.
Health Services provides the following contraception methods to students:
- Oral contraception (birth control pills) prescriptions
- Male condoms (See next section)
- Vaginal ring (NuvaRing) and hormonal patch prescriptions
- Birth control injection (Depo-Provera) prescriptions (the medication may be brought back to the Health Center for injection)
What to Expect
Additional Resources about Contraception
Free male condoms are available at the following locations:
- Student Health Center - in the bathroom
- Student Health Center - in the hallway near the check-in computer kiosk (lubricants and dental dams available here)
- RAs and health advocates in each house
Emergency Contraception at Student Health Services
Health Services provides emergency contraception (also known as the morning after pill, Plan-B) in the form of the levonorgestrel (one 1.5mg tablet) at a low cost. The brand available is EContra EZ (levonorgestrel tablet, 1.5mg).
Students will need to come to Health Services in order to obtain emergency contraception as it is important to have a general assessment, as well as address any concerns students may have. Health services is dedicated to providing judgment-free care.
Emergency Contraception in the Community
The closest drugstores near campus are:
Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing and Treatment
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Tests Available
- Chlamydia / Gonorrhea (Avoid urinating for at least one hour prior to having the test to provide a "first catch" urine sample)
- HIV (blood test)
- Syphilis (blood test)
- Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (blood test, occasionally swab test)
- Hepatitis B and C (blood test)
- Human Papillomavirus, HPV (for women, completed during pap smear)
- Genital warts (clinical evaluation done at health services)
Some tests may be covered entirely by insurance while other tests may have some costs. If you have the United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) plan, chlamydia / gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis testing is covered once a year.
Our UnitedHealthcare Insurance Liaison is Kevin C. Lee who is available to answer any questions you may have about the student health insurance.
All health services visits and records are confidential.
The following locations also provide free or low-cost STI testing and treatment:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV 9) / Gardasil Vaccine
- Make an appointment with Student Health Services. We will write you a prescription.
- Call your preferred contracted pharmacy regarding whether they have the HPV vaccine in stock. Please see list of contracted pharmacies here.
- Visit the pharmacy and have your vaccine administered.
- Have the following readily on hand: prescription for the HPV vaccine, copy of your insurance card, and a picture ID
- Please arrive at least 15 minutes early prior to your appointment
- REMEMBER: Ask for a vaccine administration document for the health center
Cervical Cancer Screening (Pap Smears)
The current recommendations for pap smears are to start at age 21 and repeat every 3 years if results are normal. Women can schedule a gynecological exam through the online Student Health Portal. These appointments are available Tuesday and Thursday mornings with a female nurse practitioner and will take approximately 45 minutes. The best time to schedule an appointment is roughly 10 days after your last menstrual period. Please try to abstain from sexual intercourse 2-3 days prior to your appointment to allow for optimal specimen collection.
When scheduling your exam, it is very important to complete the online questionnaire prior to your exam in order to ensure your appointment goes smoothly.
If you have not had a gynecological exam done before or have any concerns, you can come to health services to discuss your concerns with a nurse practitioner prior to scheduling an appointment.
What to Expect
If students are currently receiving hormone therapy through injections, students can receive hormone injections at Student Health Services provided they obtain the medication at a pharmacy and bring it to Student Health Services. We can also refill prescriptions and teach self-injection to students who are interested. Prescriptions for oral medication can also be written. It is generally necessary to obtain medical records of previous treatment.
For comprehensive services, we are currently referring students to St. John's Transgender Health Program and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. UCLA Gender Health Program also provides comprehensive gender health services to students.
Planned Parenthood in Pasadena is able to offer care for transgender and non-binary patients. They also offer the full range of contraception, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, and women’s health care.
PEP / PrEP Therapy
PEP stands for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis and involves taking HIV medication following a potential HIV exposure to prevent infection.
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV and involves taking a medication called Truvada every day to prevent HIV infection.
TRUVADA for PrEP® (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex, when taken every day and used together with safer sex practices.
Students may schedule an appointment with one of our medical providers to discuss their need for these therapies, and may be given a prescription for the medication. There is some coverage through the UHCSR insurance plan for PEP/PrEP therapy. Los Angeles LGBT Center is another resource that provides free PrEP consultation over the phone or in person; financial assistance information is available as well. Please visit freetesting.org for more information.
Additional Campus Resources
- Counseling Services
- Center for Diversity - LGBTQ Resources
- Map of All-Gendered Bathrooms
- LGBTQ+ Working Group - Please contact Taso Dimitriadis from the Caltech Center for Diversity to learn more.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded education programs or activities.
At the California Institute of Technology, we take compliance with Title IX seriously and we are committed to providing an environment free from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex.
The following are examples of types of sex-based discrimination that are prohibited by Title IX:
- Sexual harassment and sexual violence, including sexual assault, that occurs in connection with Caltech academic, athletic, extracurricular, or Institute programs, regardless of the location.
- Failure to provide equitable opportunity for a student or employee based on sex.
- Lack of athletic opportunities for women.
- Discrimination on the basis of gender, gender expression, and gender identity.
The Title IX coordinator is April Castañeda. All students can access her to discuss a Title IX concern, seek information or support around a Title IX issue, or file Title IX complaints with the Institute.
For an appointment with the Title IX coordinator, please email TitleIXCoordinator@caltech.edu or call (626) 395-3132.
Student Health Services can provide sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, gynecological exams, referrals to rape/abuse clinics, and referrals to campus resources including counseling services, designated staff at the Caltech Center for Diversity, and Title IX.Additional information can be found on the Title IX website.