Birth Control is very important to the lives of many sexually active people especially UC Davis students anyone who doesn't want childen, most of whom would rather be full-time students non kid havers than part-time mothers or fathers.

Where to get it

Condoms can be found at practically every grocery store, convenience store, and gas station. You'll often have to ask for them at the register, since they're a high-theft item due to people who are too embarrassed and/or broke to purchase them. To find the store closest to you that sells condoms, as well as information about price, store hours, and whether the condoms are behind the counter, check out this Google map of Condom Availability & Sexual Health Resources In and Around Davis (link). Target is probably the cheapest place for condoms, averaging about fifty cents a condom (Trojan brand) while other places sell the same brand for about a dollar a condom (they come in the same packages of 12 and 24 too). In addition to listing where you can buy condoms on campus and in the Davis community, it also shows where you can get tested for STIs and HIV.

If you're a UCD student, you can get condoms for cheap ($1.50 for ten) at the Student Health and Wellness Center, where they offer various brands and types. If you've got a Meal Plan through the UCD Dining Commons then you might be able to use your swipes to purchase them at certain DC snack-food areas. FREE condoms are available through Health Education and Promotion on the Third Floor of the Student Health and Wellness Center. The Love Lab cart provides a wide selection of condoms and other safer sex products to students. Stop by and get 10 free condoms and other safer sex goodies! The Love Lab is available on the Third Floor of the Student Health and Wellness Center. Student Health Services provides great birth control information and a quiz online (link), including how to use contraceptives, effectiveness and potential side effects of methods, back-up options, and more (link). They also have helpful information if your birth control method fails, cannot be used, or has not been used properly.

Spermicides are also available over the counter at many locations.

Most other forms of birth control require a doctor consultation and/or prescription. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many forms of prescription birth control (including the most effective form, IUDs) are now FREE for those with health insurance. If you have insurance, see your primary care physician or gynecologist. If you're a UCD student with SHIP, you can get contraceptives through Student Health and Wellness Center. UC Davis student health insurance will also work at Sutter Hospital. If you don't have insurance, Communicare Health Center and Planned Parenthood offer low or no-cost family planning services.

If your contraceptive doesn't work...

Emergency Contraception is 89% effective within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex, but can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. Look into Plan B (Levonorgestrel) if you have had unwanted unprotected sex. You can obtain Plan B from the Student Health and Wellness Center (info), Sutter Hospital and Planned Parenthood. It can also be purchased without a prescription from Davis pharmacies. It can be found at pharmacies and at some stores it can be found in the aisles near the pharmacy. In some stores you might have to ask for it behind the pharmacy counter. As of 2013, people of any age can buy it without showing ID.

UC Davis Students can purchase Plan B at the Student Health and Wellness Center pharmacy Monday through Friday for $35 with or without SHIP. Plan B is available at pharmacies around Davis. Current prices are different at every store. Previously prices were around $40-55 several years ago. However, recently the prices have risen to over $70 at some retail pharmacies or drug stores. Plan B is usually cheapest at Walmart at around $53 and Walmart will match any other pharmacy's price. Walmart also sells a generic version of Plan B such as Take Action or Next Choice. The generic versions have the same ingredients as Plan B. Take Action is around $36 and the Next Choice contraceptive is around $40. Keeping Plan B on hand is a good idea because accidents happen and Plan B is not always convenient to obtain. Plan B does not expire until up to 4 years from the manufacturing date.

Plan B is not the only emergency contraception. The generic versions work just as well and have the same ingredient. They go by various names such as Next Choice. Some generic Plan B versions consist of 2 pills instead of the 1 pill that is Plan B. It is the same medication. The 2 pills can be taken at the same time or the second pill can be taken 12 hours later. It is your choice and it is still equally effective if you take both pills at the same time. The problem with the 2 pill versions is that a person may forget to take the second pill. However, taking both pills at the same time will eliminate the possibility of forgetting the second pill. Read the box to find out whether your emergency contraceptive is the 2 pill version or the 1 pill version.

Plan B and similar generics can make you nauseated and can cause vomiting. You do not want to vomit up your pill or pills accidentally. You can use anti-nausea medicine one hour before taking emergency contraception if you are concerned about getting nauseated. Many women also find it helpful to take the emergency contraception pills with a full stomach of food.

Anti-nausea medications include Dramamine and Bonine. Please note that some anti-nausea medications may cause drowsiness and it may be dangerous to drive while using them. Dramamine Less Drowsy Version and Bonine are both less drowsy medications compared to plain regular Dramamine which can cause drowsiness.

If you accidentally vomit up your pill or pills, you will need to retake the Plan B or Next Choice pills.

If you are absolutely desperate to save money. Some Kaiser pharmacies sell Plan B and similar medications over the counter for a discounted price that is cheaper than other pharmacies. Most Kaiser pharmacies sell these Plan B medications at a low price to anyone even if they are not Kaiser members. It is worth a try.

Some insurance plans cover the cost of Plan B or Next Choice and some do not. If you buy Plan B over the counter you do not need a prescription, however if you want your insurance to pay for Plan B or the generic, you will need a prescription. Again, some insurance plans do not cover Plan B or the generic even with a prescription. You can call a doctor and they can call in a prescription to a pharmacy or fax it in. Another option is getting an actual paper prescription from a doctor.

See Pregnancy. Talk to your doctor and your partner, and get all the information needed to make informed choices.


There are two types of condoms: male condoms and female condoms. Male condoms provide significant protection against STDs and pregnancy during sex. Please note that condoms can fail and they do not cover up the entire genital area. People are still vulnerable to herpes, warts, HPV, and other diseases transmitted through skin to skin contact. There is still no cure for herpes, but there are treatments that can shorten recurring outbreaks. These outbreaks will occur for the rest of your life. Female condoms in studies have been shown to be less effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Bodily fluids from the male can still be transmitted to uncovered parts of the female and result in sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. The female condom is often very difficult to put on properly and can slip off. The act of removing the female condom after use can cause male bodily fluids to spill out and cause pregnancy. The female condom should be used with spermicide.

Most male condoms are made from latex, but those with latex allergies can use male condoms made from polyurethane, polyisoprene, or the insertive condom (which is also made from nitrile).

They also make for good (albeit expensive) water balloons.

Sexual Health Student Assistants with Student Health and Wellness Center's Health Education and Promotion provide a Google map of Condom Availability & Sexual Health Resources In and Around Davis (link). It shows where you can get tested for STIs, HIV, and where you can buy condoms on campus and in the Davis community. Also listed are items sold, prices, and hours of stores selling condoms!

Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal birth control takes many forms these days.

The Student Health and Wellness Center provides online birth control education and a quiz to help find the best birth control method for you (link). It includes information about the use, efficacy, and potential side effects of hormonal birth control methods. They also have helpful information if your birth control method fails, cannot be used, or has not been used properly.

Oral contraceptives, commonly known as The Pill, are the form most people are familiar with. There are many different types, with different combinations of hormones. In order to provide protection, these need to be taken daily at approximately the same time each day (the window of error varies depending on type). Some people partly take oral contraception due to the hormonal side effects - apparently they can help with acne, menstrual pains, and a few other things. Doctors will prescribe different ones depending on the hormone combination best for your body and desirable side effects.

Depo-Provera is an injection given every three months, making it a much safer method for forgetful people. However, this also means that if you suffer negative side effects, you can't just quit - you're stuck until the hormones are out of your system, which can take up to six months.

Ortho Evra is a transdermal patch (similiar to the nicotine patches that help smokers quit smoking) that releases hormones that are absorbed through the skin. The patch is changed once a week. This helps reduce the chance of forgetting. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to adhesive DO NOT USE Ortho Evera (the patch).

NuvaRing is a hormone-filled ring (kind of like a jelly bracelet) which is inserted into the vagina, then changed once a month, reducing the risk of forgetfullness.

All types require a prescription. Also, they do not provide any protection against STIs, so it's a good idea to keep using condoms unless you are sure of you and your partner's status. It would be a good idea to visit a local health center and have yourselves tested for your own knowledge and health.

Intra Uterine Devices

An Intra Uterine Device (IUD)) is a small T shaped device that is inserted by a health care provider through the cervix and placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is a safe and very effective method. There are 2 types of IUDs: the Paragard IUD, which contains is copper-based and contains no hormone and can be left in place for 10 years, and the Mirena IUD, which has Progesterone and can be left in place for 5 years. IUDS work by making it harder for an egg to reach or attach to the uterus, disrupting sperm movement. The hormonal IUD also helps block sperm from getting into the uterus. Paragard IUDs can be very effective "Morning After" interventions but doctors will not implant the Mirena IUD if there is any chance you could be pregnant. Paragard is a good method for a woman if a woman prefers a non-hormonal method or if she has difficulty remembering to take pills. Women tend to experience heavier periods on Paragard and lighter or no periods in Mirena.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, students with SHIP or almost anyone with health insurance can get the Mirena IUD, which lasts five years, for FREE.

Similar to hormonal birth control, the IUD does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections, so it's a good idea to keep using condoms unless you are sure of you and your partner's STI status.

Fertility Based Awareness Method

For those looking for a non-chemical form of birth control who are willing to take on more responsibility than simply popping a pill, the Fertility Based Awareness Methods may be a good option. The Fertility Based Awareness Methods usually involve tracking basal body temperature, cervical fluid, and other bodily signals to determine when fertility is greatest, and is commonly used both for avoiding unwanted and achieving wanted pregnancy.

The Experimental College has offered a class about the Fertility Based Awareness Method in past quarters, check the current schedule to see whether it is offered in the current quarter. Taking Charge Of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler website is an excellent book explaining the method.

The Fertility Based Awareness Method does not provide protection against STIs, and is therefore considered most appropriate for people in long-term monogamous relationship unless used in conjunction with condoms. The failure rate is between 5% and 25% or higher with actual or typical use, which is at times incorrect and inconsistent.

More Information

Student Health Services -Contraception Resources CommuniCare HC Teen Clinic


You must be logged in to comment on this page. Please log in.

2008-05-21 23:38:11   I suffered horrible side effects on Depo-Provera. Buyer beware! It took MONTHS before that S*** was out of my system and I started to go back to normal. I did some light research and, evidently, there is a segment of the female population that absolutely cannot tolerate Depo. It makes sense since it's not really Progesterone, but rather Progestin. The man-made stuff. —CurlyGirl26

2008-05-21 23:40:06   And I'm glad that this page has information on the morning after pill. I don't think there is enough awareness about this wonderful, wonderful medication. —CurlyGirl26