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The Breakdown: On- and off-campus sexual health resources

Services for birth control, STDs, sexual violence, plus other resources students can access
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FIONA TUNG/THE VARSITY
FIONA TUNG/THE VARSITY

Both the federal and municipal governments, as well as U of T, offer a wide range of easily accessible sexual health resources. To help you access these resources, The Varsity compiled a summary of some of them provided on and off campus. 

Birth control

You can contact U of T’s Health & Wellness Centre for information on birth control

Some methods of birth control require a medical prescription. You can book an education session with a nurse at the Health & Wellness Centre to discuss which method works best for you. After having learned about the various possible forms of birth control, you can book an appointment with a doctor from the centre to get a prescription.

Prescriptions from the centre’s doctors can be used to purchase hormonal birth control at the Health & Wellness Centre. Students who have a prescription from a non-affiliated doctor need to book an appointment to transfer their prescription to Health & Wellness and get a new one from one of the centre’s doctors before purchasing. 

Condoms are also available for free at the Health & Wellness office, though supplies are limited. The university’s Sexual Health team offers short instructional videos on external and internal condom use. 

Health & Wellness is part of Rapid Access Intrauterine Contraception Centres of Excellence. The Health & Wellness Centre has an expert intrauterine device insertion team and offers reduced wait times. It also accepts self-referrals, which are a good option if you are seeking rapid access to birth control. You can book an appointment to get same-day insertions on Wednesday afternoons at the Health & Wellness Centre. 

You can also explore birth control options through the website It’s A Plan, which offers a list of all birth control methods available in Canada, compiled by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. It is a self-guided tool that helps you to find a method that suits you. 

Toronto Public Health also offers a pamphlet with detailed information on different birth control options. It includes important aspects to consider when choosing contraceptives, such as their efficacy, accessibility, and frequency of use — before sex, every day, every week, and so on.

If you need emergency contraception, you can find more information at whatsnextforme.ca/choices. Be aware that there is a time limit on taking emergency birth control, and the sooner you take it, the better it will work. 

Sexually transmitted infections

Prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is extremely important, as many of them can cause life-long health issues, particularly for women. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, these health issues may include, but are not limited to, “pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal or ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, and perinatal or congenital infections in infants born to infected mothers.” STIs are increasingly common among postsecondary students, affecting one in every four. 

Public services are a great way to get more information on STIs and access resources. Toronto Public Health offers a concise guide on what STIs are, how to protect yourself, and where to access testing and free treatment. Meanwhile, Health Canada provides a more detailed guide on specific STIs and a series of resources for every province. 

U of T offers testing for STIs through the Health and Wellness Centre. You can contact it to book an appointment or talk to one of the nurses by calling Health & Wellness at your campus. 

Sexual violence

The university also offers sexual violence prevention resources and support for survivors. You can find emergency help at the Student Life website that you can reach across all three campuses and off campus. 

The Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre (SVPSC) aims to support survivors and offer accomodations, financial and legal aid, counselling, and medical service. The SVPSC also offers referrals to additional on- and off-campus resources for sexual violence. 

A list of these and other resources is provided by the Sexual Health Collaborative and can be found on their website

A number of student groups on campus also offer supports for survivors, including the Prevention Empowerment Advocacy Response for Survivors and Trinity College Against Sexual Assault and Harassment.