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Doctor Visits & Confidentiality
Birth Control Access in Palo Alto
Posted on: 05/08/2009
I am wondering whether a gynecological examination is necessary to get a perscription for birth control. Can an individual be given a perscription without having an appointment? Are you aware of anywhere a teen can get free or discounted birth control? Planned Parenthood does not currently give student discounts.
It depends on who you see. Typically, a physician has two concerns when you are asking for birth control: first, that you get it promptly to prevent pregnancy; and second that you are taking the proper precautions to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor will also make sure you are tested for sexually transmitted infections, if you have already been sexually active.
That said, some health-care providers will want to examine you, although if it truly is a barrier to getting what you need, they may not.
Remember, by California state law, you can see your own doctor for a visit for issues related to sexual health (including birth control) and your parents do not need to be notified. The visit will be confidential, but you should talk with your doctor about how to make sure it is kept confidential.
If you go to Planned Parenthood, and tell them that even if you have insurance, you do not want it billed -- to avoid your parents finding out -- you can still get free birth control. [I called the Mountain View PP today - Note from Nancy Brown, Ph.D.].
At the very least, you do need an appointment. You need to be seen by someone who will ask your history and see what birth control is appropriate for you. Your provider will also need to know if there are certain forms of birth control that you cannot use because they could pose risk to your health (for instance, if you smoke and take birth control pills).
It sounds like you are asking mainly about pills, which insurance will cover. Things like the Depo injection have to be given at a doctor's office, and if you can't pay out of pocket -- insurance has to approve payment.
Condoms are always an inexpensive, reliable form of birth control to start and you should use them for STI protection anyway, in the meantime.
I'll also make a plug for talking with your parents. I appreciate that you are trying to be responsible about your sexual health and protecting yourself. I would think long and hard about discussing this with your parents -- and making the case that you are trying to be responsible -- so that you can get the care you need and deserve and you can be open about this and can get things covered under your insurance.