Family PACT offers free birth control to uninsured students
November 8, 2007 11:50 AM
California college students are well-informed when it comes to birth control planning, access, care and treatment. Adolescents in public schools learn about the reproductive system and are taught how to make informed decisions around sex.
SF State offers a program entitled Family PACT, a health service that provides free services for eligible uninsured men and women.
“Birth control can be $30 a month, and people on birth control are being responsible,” said Janine Ramos, a 19-year-old Art major and participant of Family PACT. “The program is an incentive to be responsible about having sex; it helps people do it safely and responsibly.”
If a student earns under $1,702 a month they qualify for the program’s free services. The services for women include birth control methods and supplies, education and counseling, annual exams, pap smears and emergency contraception, among others.
Services for men include: care and testing for sexually transmitted infections, HIV screenings, free condoms and supplies as well as education and counseling.
Due to students graduating and not taking advantage of the yearly renewal, the health center does not have an accurate numbers of enrollees.
Conan Tong, 31-year-old Family PACT enroller said he likes helping students save money, and said that they are working on having better communications with students around expiring enrollment cards. If you are enrolled in Family PACT, you have to renew your card each year. Many individuals have been coming in for recertification this fall; Tong sees 20 to 25 people a day, 40 percent to re-enroll.
Students can drop by the office with any questions or sign up for the PACT program in a little over 15 to 20 minutes.
“You can get free condoms anytime. People are having sex anyway, its better that it’s more controlled,” said Jeff Budd, a 23-year-old psychology major. “If they [students] can’t get it for free, they will take the risk—and they don’t care.”
The program also distributes literature around sex safety and what behaviors are considered risky.
According to the Family PACT literature, some of the biggest contributors to the cultivation and implementation of this program were glaring facts and statistics around STDs and unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. Eight of ten teen pregnancies are unplanned, and half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Up to 85 percent of women and 40 percent of men who have chlamydia—an STD that can cause of infertility—do not show symptoms.
The program adheres to a strict code of confidentiality between enroller and patient, Tong said. All information is 100 percent confidential, and the program is completely voluntary. A student can come down and cancel their card at anytime.
“A student would only do this if they fall down, hit their head and decide they don’t like free services from the state of California,” Tong said jokingly of the myriad of free services offered on our campus.
For more information around Family PACT, literature is available as well as program enrollers to answer student questions or sign individuals up in Area B of the Student Health Center. For a more confidential approach one can call (800) 942-1054.
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