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Sexual Health

Contraception Methods

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)

For intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control implants (Nexplanon), health services will provide you a referral to a community provider.

What to Expect

To obtain non-barrier contraception, an appointment is required to review important family and personal medical history, check vital signs such as blood pressure, and check for reasons you might not be able to use certain medications, to make sure you are the right candidate for the method you have selected. Contraception will be then be ordered and available for pick-up at the local pharmacy. Appointments will also be required for refills to make sure there are no adverse effects to the selected contraception method.

A pap smear (for cervical cancer screening) is NOT mandatory in order to receive contraception services.

Additional Resources about Contraception

Male Condoms

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

Please only take what you need. Condoms are also available for purchase at the C-Store, at your local pharmacy, and online.

Emergency Contraception

General Information

Emergency contraception is available at Student Health Services and at the local Planned Parenthood (Pasadena and Alhambra) and area pharmacies (see below). We encourage you to come in via appointment to speak to one of the clinicians regarding a prescription when the need arises. The most common method used is the morning-after pill.

For a good explanation and summary, please visit the Planned Parenthood Emergency Contraception Information page.

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).

Click here to read the package insert and common questions about EContra EZ, including effectiveness and side effects.

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

Alternatively, emergency contraception can be purchased over-the-counter at your local drug store and at Planned Parenthood Pasadena and Planned Parenthood Alhambra.

Per the FDA, any woman or man of any age can purchase one-pill EC products containing one 1.5 mg levonorgestrel pill (brand and generics), without needing to show ID.

The closest drugstores near campus are:

CVS on California 
603 S Lake. Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106

(626) 844-5049

310 S. Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

(626) 583-8066

CVS (inside Target)
777 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, 91101

(626) 795-5472

Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing and Treatment

General Information

Student Health Services provides testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Please make an appointment with a medical provider to discuss your specific concerns and circumstances. Information will be given and the procedure for STI testing will be explained. For further information, visit:

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 

HPV 9 (commonly known as Gardasil 9) is a preventative vaccine available to adolescents and young adults from ages 9 to 26. Gardasil 9 protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. This vaccine helps to protect against genital warts and cervical cancer and is covered under the Student UnitedHealthcare (UHC) Plan.

I want to get vaccinated! Now what?
  1. Make an appointment with Student Health Services. We will write you a prescription.
  2. Call your preferred contracted pharmacy regarding whether they have the HPV vaccine in stock. Please see list of contracted pharmacies here.
  3. 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 

Read more about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine on the CDC information page.

Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections

The treatment for sexually transmitted infections is dependent on the infection diagnosed. Some are treated with oral medical obtained at a pharmacy while other treatment is more involved. Your medical provider will discuss treatment if you are diagnosed with an STI.

Cervical Cancer Screening (Pap Smears)

Gynecologic Visits

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

Please allow for 45 minutes for your gynecological exam for history taking, possible pelvic exam and pap smear, and possible laboratory testing. At the time of your visit, a genital culture can be done to rule out bacteria or yeast infection if needed. Treatment may be given at the time of your visit or after test results have been received. If desired, contraception can be prescribed during your appointment. 

Results of any test done should be obtained within a week and will be sent to you via Secure Message on the Student Health Portal. Students with abnormal results will be asked to return to the clinic to discuss results with a clinician. Referrals may be made to an OB/GYN in the community (please check with your insurance regarding specialist coverage). If a pelvic or abdominal ultrasound is needed, we will make the appropriate referral to a community provider.


Hormone Therapy

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. 

St. John's Well Child & Family Center - Transgender Health Program

Los Angeles LGBTQ Center

UCLA Gender Health Program

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 for more information.

Additional Campus Resources

Caltech is a place where all members of the LGBTQ community are welcomed and valued for their unique, individual identities. 

Title IX

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 Hima Vatti. 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 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.
Additional Resources