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San Francisco

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United States of America / California / San Francisco
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OVERVIEW

San Francisco has a rich history of supporting women's rights, LGBT rights and progressive health care. Abortion is legal, Plan B is widely accessible, and there are many low-cost clinics, especially concentrated in the Mission, SOMA, Tenderloin and Haight districts. Due to the recent tech boom, the city has grown increasingly expensive. But there are still quite a few free or sliding-scale clinics, women's centers and STD testing facilities. Outside of San Francisco, there are many resources in neighboring Oakland and Berkeley, as well, which can be accessed via BART, the Bay Area's underground rapid public transit.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

Birth control sold in the USA
Condoms

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In San Francisco, birth control pills are legal for both minors (under 18 years old) and adults. Minors do not need parental permission to obtain birth control. While you do need a prescription for birth control, this prescription can be obtained at a pharmacy. Unlike many other US states, which require that you actually visit a physician for a prescription, California (as of April 2016) does not require that you visit a physician for self-administered hormonal contraception, which includes patches, pills and vaginal rings. For birth control that requires a physician, like IUDs, you will still need to visit a doctor.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can get condoms in grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores (like CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens) and online. There are no age restrictions for purchasing condoms. Typically, a 12-pack of condoms costs around $12. Internal condoms (also known as "female condoms") cost around $2 to $4 per condom. You can also get free condoms at health centers (like Planned Parenthood), HIV testing centers and local health departments. Call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) to learn where you can get free condoms in your area.
  • If you want birth control pills, you will probably still need a prescription. While you technically can buy birth control pills without a prescription in California, most pharmacists don't seem to honor this. In other words, they still require a prescription. You can get a 12-month prescription for birth control through the Planned Parenthood app (available for Android or iPhone). If you're uninsured, you can also get a low-cost prescription directly at a Planned Parenthood office. Once you have a prescription, you can fill it at SF pharmacies, such as CVS, Rite-Aid or Walgreens. Note that, if you don't have health insurance, the costs can be pretty expensive to fill a prescription (so you may want to go through a low-cost clinic).
  • The most common pharmacies in San Francisco are Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid. For uninsured patients, you can typically receive a prescription write-up as well as the actual medication at Planned Parenthood or low-cost clinics, such as Haight Ashbury Free Clinic (1735 Mission Street or 558 Clayton Street) or San Francisco Free Clinic (4900 California Street).

Contraception Resources[edit]

  • Planned Parenthood - San Francisco Health Center: You can visit them, regardless of whether or not you have health insurance, and they have staff that speak both English and Spanish. Planned Parenthood has many lower-cost birth control services, including birth control implant, birth control patch, birth control pill, birth control shot, birth control vaginal ring (NuvaRing), diaphragm, external condoms (also known as "male condoms"), internal condoms (also known as "female condoms"), fertility awareness method, IUD (hormonal), IUD (copper), etc. For a relatively low cost, Planned Parenthood writes and fulfills birth control prescriptions. If you don't have a prescription, you can receive the prescription and pills in the same day. Address: 1650 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110. Phone: 415-821-1282. Fax: 415-821-9047.
  • Women's Community Clinic: This clinic is run by all women and comes highly recommended - very sensitive to people's needs. They provide low-cost (sometimes free) services, and they accept all visitors, regardless of insurance status. They provide contraception options, including IUDs, and they can work with low-income or non-insured individuals to provide affordable service options. Address: 1833 Fillmore Street, 3rd Floor (between Bush and Sutter), San Francisco, CA 94115. Phone: 415.379.7800
  • New Generation Health Center: This s is a place for young people to come and get non-judgmental services, including dispendsng of birth control, condoms, emergency contraception, STI tests, etc. with a focus on youth. You should call in advance to make an appointment. "New Gen continues to provide confidential, youth friendly reproductive health services." Services currently available at: Women's Health Center (5M) at ZSFG, Bldg. 5, 1001 Potrero Ave., SF. Phone: (415) 502-TEEN/ (415) 502-8336.
  • San Francisco City Clinic: This clinic serves everyone, regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status. They also have free condoms. "Some birth control (condoms, Depo Provera injections) are available on-site. If you choose oral contraceptives (the Pill), the contraceptive patch, or the vaginal ring (NuvaRing), you will leave your appointment with a prescription that you can get filled at a local pharmacy... You can get Confidential sexual health services for women age 12 and older are available at City Clinic both on a drop-in and appointment basis. Call 415-487-5552 for information or if you would like to make an appointment." You can also email them to schedule an appointment: SFCCwomensclinic@sfdph.org. Address: 356 7th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Phone: 415-487-5500

Costs[edit]

  • There is no one standard birth control price, as this greatly depends on which method is used. But, if you are uninsured, you can expect to pay between $20-$150/month supply of pills.
  • If you are insured under your employer in California, there is also a very good chance that you are insured under Kaiser Permanente. Their main site, including the pharmacy, is found at 2238 Geary, but they have many facilities all over the wider Bay Area.
  • If you don't have insurance in California, or if you're low-income, you may qualify for reduced cost of free visits. There are many clinics and facilities that accept low-income and uninsured visitors in the Bay Area, such as Women's Community Clinic and Planned Parenthood. You may also qualify for Medi-Cal, which provides a core set of health benefits under the state.

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In San Francisco, emergency contraception is legal. You do not need a prescription to purchase emergency contraception, and there is typically little stigma related to the act. You can buy Plan B at many drug stores, such as Walgreens.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Note: The longest-lasting EC is currently ellaOne. It lasts up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Check to see if your country carries ellaOne. If your country doesn't carry ellaOne, copper IUDs may also prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex. If none of these options are available, and it's been over 3 days since you had unprotected sex, you can still take EC, which may work up to 5 days. Note that EC pills are not 100% effective and should be taken as soon as possible.

Nearly all SF pharmacies should have Plan B. But be aware that most pharmacies in SF are not 24 hours, with the exception of some Walgreens locations (3201 Divisadero, 498 Castro and 459 Powell Street).

Costs[edit]

Plan B pills typically cost between $35-$60/pill. This cost is often covered by private insurance, MediCal and Family Pact. However, if you are uninsured, you may be charged an additional $10 consult fee. To avoid this free, San Francisco City Clinic has provided an online means of obtaining an emergency contraception prescription. Check out this link [1] for more details.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

There are many low-cost and free STI/STD testing services in SF. They typically do not require appointments, and they run on a first come, first serve basis. So it is recommended that you arrange for a test on a day when you have time to wait to receive your tests and results.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

There are many facilities to receive free or low-cost STD testing facilities. But keep in mind that many facilities test for some -- not all -- STDs. So do your research in advance. They typically do not require appointments, and they run on a first come, first serve basis. So it is recommended that you arrange for a test on a day when you have time to wait to receive your tests and results. Some STD clinics also offer vaccines for meningitis, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, as well as alcohol and drug treatment.

Here are some clinics: San Francisco City Clinic (for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes @ 356 7th Street), Women's Community Clinic (for HIV, HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, Hepatitis A, B and C @ 1833 Fillmore), New Generation Health Center (for people under 25, tests for HIV, chlamydia,gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis @ 625 Potrero), Lyon Martin Health Services (for HIV, chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea @ 1748 Market Street) and Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic (for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes, syphilis @558 Clayton).

Check out this awesome article by Broke Ass Stuart, a local SF writer, for more local details: [2]

Costs[edit]

At SF City Clinic, tests will run from free to $10, depending on need. At Lyon Martin, tests should be free. At Women's Health Clinic, testing is free. At Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, tests will be $20 or under.

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In SF, some medications can be obtained over-the-counter while others require a prescription. For yeast infections, you do not need a prescription. But, for urinary tract infections, it is necessary to have a doctor test for a possible UTI -- and, if tests come back positive, then you will be given a prescription for UTI medication. For STD medication that require antibiotics, such as gonorrhea, you will also need a prescription.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you think you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you'll need to visit a doctor, who will give you a check-up and test to see if you have a UTI. If you do have a UTI, you will be prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection. You cannot get UTI antibiotic medication without a prescription.
  • If you have a yeast infection, you can get treatment over-the-counter (no prescription needed). The most common yeast infection treatment in the United States is called "Monistat." There are different treatment plans (for example, 1 day, 3 days and 7 days). It's recommended to do more than 1 day to completely clear the infection.
  • You can get the HPV vaccine, like Gardasil, in SF. Contact your health provider for details.
  • You can access PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) in San Francisco at the following locations: San Francisco City Clinic, Planned Parenthood, SF General Hospital, HIVE, Native American Health Center, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, San Francisco Health Network, HealthRIGHT 360, Latino Wellness Center, Lyon-Martin Health Services, Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic, Cole Street Youth Clinic @ Huckleberry Center, San Francisco VA Medical Center, and other locations. To find where PrEP is available in your zip code, click here.
  • You can access PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) in San Francisco.

Costs[edit]

Costs vary greatly according to the medication. For uninsured consumers, some medication costs may seem very steep, so you may want to seek out clinics with sliding-scale payment options if you do not have any insurance. For yeast infections, Monistat 7 at Walgreens is $14.99 while Walgreens generic brand is $11.49 (which seems just as effective). For UTIs, you can expect to pay about $60 for the antibiotics. Chlamydia medication generally costs $10 but can go up to $50. Gonorrhea medication usually costs about $17 for a single dose. For uninsured consumers, some medications may be steep, so you may want to seek out sliding-scale clinics.

Menstruation[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

There is no social stigma against tampons in SF or generally in the USA. They can be obtained as readily as pads in most drug stores.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

You can find tampons and pads in most drug stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.

Costs[edit]

Prices will vary, but as an example: You can get a box with 36 tampons for $7 at Walgreens.

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Click here for a list of all the hospitals in San Francisco.
  • Women's Community Clinic: This clinic is run by all women and comes highly recommended - very sensitive to people's needs. They provide contraception options, including IUDs, and they can work with low-income or non-insured individuals to provide affordable service options. Address: 1833 Fillmore Street, 3rd Floor (between Bush and Sutter), San Francisco, CA 94115. Phone: 415.379.7800

Costs[edit]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In the United States, the National Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave for women. But the FLMA has loopholes (for example, it doesn't apply to companies with less than 50 employees). So, for this reason, many women don't actually receive 12 weeks of maternity leave, and many women (even if their employers do qualify) can't take off 12 weeks of unpaid work. There is currently no comparable federal paternity leave policy in the United States.

As of January 2017, many new parents with jobs in San Francisco are eligible for six weeks of fully paid maternity and paternity leave. California requires 55% paid leave for six weeks.[1]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • The Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP): They provide prenatal and parenting support, housing services and other resources to homeless and poor families. "The Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP) is an award-winning San Francisco Family Resource Center. For 25 years, HPP has provided poor and homeless families the ability to end childhood poverty." Email: info@homelessprenatal.org. Address: 2500 18th St. San Francisco, CA, 94110 USA. Phone: 415.546.6756. Fax: 415.546.6778.

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In the United States, abortion has been fully legal since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision (1973). If you're a minor (under 18 years old), you don't need permission from your parents to receive an abortion in California, and you don't need to notify them either.[2]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Planned Parenthood - San Francisco Health Center: Planned Parenthood: Services include: abortion pill (medication abortion), in-clinic abortion, sedation options (medication to make the abortion more comfortable), pre- and post-abortion, patient education, post-abortion follow-up exams and referrals for other abortion services, as needed. Languages: English; Spanish; Interpretation by telephone available for other languages. Address: 1650 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110. Phone: 415-821-1282.
  • Women's Option's Health Center @ USCF (for 1st and 2nd trimester; 1001 Potrero Ave, Building 5, 6th Floor – Ward 6G).
  • Women's Community Clinic: "As of July 20, 2016, Women’s Community Clinic is offering Medication Abortion as part of our integrated women’s health services. Call us at (415) 379-7800 to make an appointment." Address: 356 7th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Phone: 415-487-5500.
  • There are also many options in the East Bay, such as Choice Medical Group in Oakland (400 29th St, Ste#301).

Important Note: Be careful -- there are some places that advertise themselves as abortion clinics, but they're actually anti-abortion clinics, typically run by pro-life Christian conservatives. They're known as crisis pregnancy centers (PRC). The main issues with these centers are that 1) They often falsely advertise themselves as abortion clinics and 2) They don't allow people to make choices for themselves (they only accept one choice). For these reasons, if you're looking for an abortion provider, we urge you to carefully select a trusted service. For more information on PRC, click here.

Costs[edit]

Nationwide, the abortion pill can cost $800, but often less. For an in-clinic procedure, abortions can cost $1500, but often less. You can often find cheaper options at Planned Parenthood or some clinics. For low-income women (regardless of citizenship status), Medicaid (which is called "Medi-Cal" in CA) can be used for abortions. There is also a separate Medi-Cal program for pregnant women called Medi-Cal for Pregnancy, which covers abortion and is often easier to get onto than general Medi-Cal. Other names for the program are the 200% program, Restricted Medi-Cal for Pregnancy, or the Pregnant Women’s Program.

From Planned Parenthood: "Abortion services may be covered by your insurance. If you want to use your insurance, please be sure to bring in your insurance information at the time of your visit. Medi-cal accepted. If you are uninsured, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance for your procedure. You can confidentially find out if you qualify by calling us at 800.576.5544."

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • For emergencies, call 911 to get police and an ambulance.
  • If you're dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number at 1-800-787-3224. "Our highly-trained advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. "
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255. "We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals."
  • If you have been abused and are in need of support, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) may be able to provide help and counseling. Visit their website call their 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.
  • The Trevor Project (Lifeline): Call: 866-488-7386. This is a 24/7 hotline for LGBT youth. "Our trained counselors are here to support you 24/7. If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the Trevor Lifeline now at 866-488-7386."
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender National Hotline: Toll-free: 1-888-843-4564. HOURS: Monday thru Friday from 1pm to 9pm, pacific time (Monday thru Friday from 4pm to midnight, eastern time). Saturday from 9am to 2pm, pacific time. (Saturday from noon to 5pm, eastern time). "All of our services are free and confidential.We speak with callers of all ages about coming-out issues, relationship concerns, bullying, workplace issues, HIV/AIDS anxiety and safer-sex information, and lots more!"
  • San Francisco Teen Clinic: "MNHC offers sensitive, respectful and non-judgmental services that are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL for all young people of all genders from ages 12 to 21. At the Shotwell site there is a Teen Clinic just for youth. Bilingual services offered cover physical, mental, emotional, sexual and reproductive health. If you are a young person over the age of 12, you can register for services on your own."

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • Center for Sex & Culture: "The Mission of the Center for Sex & Culture is to provide judgment-free education, cultural events, a library/media archive, and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health." Address: 1349 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States, Phone: +1 415-902-207
  • San Francisco LGBT Community Center: Address: 1800 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102, United States, Phone: +1 415-865-5555
  • LYRIC (Lavender Youth): Community & space for queer youth. Address: 127 Collingwood St, San Francisco, CA 94114, United States. Phone: +1 415-703-6150.

References[edit]

  1. Historic SF parental leave law kicks in
  2. Sex in the States - California