Sexual and Gender Health Services

The Student Health Center provides primary care services including referrals as needed for people of all genders.

  • Contraceptive (birth control) education, counseling and methods
  • Counseling and testing for HIV
  • Pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infection
  • Routine screening for cervical cancer (Pap test)
  • HPV Gardasil® Vaccinations
  • Diagnosis and treatment of vaginal infections
  • Pregnancy confirmation, counseling, and referrals as needed to abortion or maternity providers
  • Diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction. This includes reduced libido, anorgasmia, and erectile dysfunction.
  • Gender-affirming hormone treatment
  • Other sexual and gender health education and counseling


Contraceptives, or different kinds of birth control, are used to prevent pregnancy. RIT students can make an appointment with us to discuss starting, continuing, or changing prescription birth control. Some contraceptives are available for purchase at the Student Health Center, while others may be obtained with a prescription provided by a Student Health Center clinician and taken to an outside pharmacy.

Available Contraceptives

  • Male/external condoms and female/internal condoms
  • Oral contraceptive pills (birth control pills — taken daily)
  • Nuva Ring (a flexible contraceptive ring with that is placed in the vagina each month for 3 weeks)
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD) (a contraceptive device placed in the uterus for 3-5 years)
  • Diaphragm (a flexible dome shaped device placed in the vagina and used with a spermicide each time before sex)
  • Depo Provera (injectable hormonal birth control given every three months)
  • Contraceptive Implant (a small matchstick-like device placed in the arm to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years)
  • Emergency Contraception

Depending on your insurance coverage, our clinicians may be able to place IUDs and contraceptive implants in the Health Center. For same-day insertions or if your insurance plan is unable to ship to us, we can refer students to an outside office.

Even if you are using a prescription birth control method, the Student Health Center recommends the use of condoms or other barriers (dental dams) every time you have sex (oral, anal, or vaginal) to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are effective, cheap, safe, and do not require a prescription.

Male/external (latex, and polyurethane for those who are allergic to latex) and female/internal condoms (polyurethane) are available without a prescription at grocery stores and pharmacies, in the Student Health Center exam rooms and lobby, and at the following locations on-campus: the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Resource Center, Sol’s, and through the Play It Safe online ordering system.

Play It Safe is an online ordering system for RIT students to order cost-free safer sex supplies and have them delivered to one of four convenient drop-off locations. All supplies and orders are free. Options include various barrier methods for protection, lubricants, and more! All kits include additional education and conversation starters to help build skills and confidence when communicating with partners. Order a Play It Safe Kit

For more information about birth control methods, visit Bedsider.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception (EC), commonly referred to as the “morning-after pill,” is medication that can reduce the chance of pregnancy when taken after sex. EC is not an abortion pill – it will not be effective if you are already pregnant, and it will not harm an existing pregnancy. It may be taken up to 5 days after sex, but is more effective if taken as soon as possible or within the first 3 days.

Emergency contraception is not as effective as other birth control methods and should not be relied on as a “regular” method of birth control. If you are in need of birth control, the Student Health Center can assist you in obtaining a reliable method of contraception for regular use.

A woman might want to consider emergency contraception if:

  • The condom broke or slipped off during sex
  • Her diaphragm or cervical cap slipped during sex
  • No birth control method was used
  • Birth control pills were forgotten or missed
  • She was forced to have unprotected vaginal sex – link to Urgencies and Emergencies/Sexual Assault Information page

How to Obtain Emergency Contraception at the Student Health Center

If you are in need of emergency contraception, contact the Student Health Center to request a same-day appointment with a medical provider. The clinician will ask questions to determine if emergency contraception is appropriate for you. If so, the clinician will select appropriate the medication for your individual situation.

There are two emergency contraceptives available at the Student Health Center for purchase:

  • Plan B: Plan B contains the hormone levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone found in many birth control pills. Plan B does not contain the hormone estrogen. Plan B is now also available at local pharmacies without a prescription and without requiring proof of age.
  • Ella: Ella is specifically for woman with a BMI greater than 30 or for greater than 3 days from unprotected sex.

While emergency contraception is not to be used as a “regular” method of birth control, you may consider purchasing it to have available just in case. This is especially recommended for those relying on condoms alone for birth control. If you have health insurance, check with your insurance company to determine if the cost of emergency contraception is covered.

Pregnancy Testing

The Student Health Center offers pregnancy testing and counseling. The most frequently used pregnancy test used is the urine test, which detects a hormone released into urine during pregnancy ten days after unprotected sex.

What to expect at the appointment:

  • Be prepared to give a urine sample for this test at the visit. The test takes five minutes to complete and the cost is covered by the Student Health Fee.
  • Be prepared to answer questions regarding your recent menstrual period, recent sexual activity, any methods of birth control used, any medications taken (if any) and any significant past medical history.
  • Occasionally, a blood test may be conducted. The blood sample would be sent to an outside lab which would bill you or your insurance (if applicable).

The clinician will discuss your reproductive goals with you in light of your test results.  Respecting your autonomy and desire, follow-up testing and referrals can be made for abortion or maternity care, including adoption. Future contraceptive choices are also addressed at this visit.

Gynecologic Exams

A routine gynecologic (gyn) exam, sometimes referred to as a “well woman exam” or “annual exam,” assesses general health with a focus on the breasts and pelvic reproductive organs (uterus and ovaries). Students are sent a Sexual Health History form via the Wellness Portal to complete prior to the scheduled visit.

The gynecologic exam is covered by the Student Health Fee, however there is a charge for tests sent to an outside laboratory. Students may opt to be billed by the laboratory or have the bill sent to the insurance company. 

The gynecologic exam includes:

  • Weight, height, and waist measurement
  • Blood pressure check
  • Breast exam and review of breast self-exam
  • Examination of the heart, lungs, thyroid gland, and abdomen
  • Pelvic exam and Pap test (if 21 years or older)

This exam is also an opportunity to ask questions about a variety of other health concerns you may have, including questions about your periods, your body, your sex life, birth control, etc.

Besides routine checkups, you should have a pelvic exam if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal itching, irritation, or pain
  • Changes in normal vaginal discharge, such as a change in color, odor or amount
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding during your period, bleeding between periods or bleeding during or after sex
  • Pain with sexual activity
  • Menstrual cramps that cause you to miss work or school

A pelvic examination may include:

  • An examination of the external genitalia (labia, clitoris, vaginal opening)
  • A speculum exam. The speculum helps hold the vaginal walls open so the examiner can visualize the vagina and cervix.   
  • A bimanual exam to check the position and size of uterus and ovaries.

A pelvic exam is done to:

  • Check the health of your vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries
  • Screen for cervical cancer with a Pap test (if 21 years or older)
  • Check for sexually transmitted infections (STI's)

If you are under 21 with no symptoms that might be related to the uterus or ovaries, the exam would be conducted from the waist up and does not need to include a pelvic exam.

The Pap test is a screening test for signs of cervical cancer, or abnormal cells that have the potential to turn into cancer in the future. The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology recommends the first Pap test at age 21.

During the Pap test, the clinician will gently swab a sample of cells from the cervix and place them in a liquid medium that is sent to an outside laboratory for microscopic review. The clinician will notify you of your results and any necessary follow-up.

  • Schedule the exam for a day you will not be having your period (if having a routine pelvic exam)
  • Know your personal health history, including any medical conditions, surgeries, hospitalizations, and allergies
  • Know your family health history, such as a history of breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer or a history of stroke or blood clotting disorder
  • Know the names and doses of medications and supplements you take regularly
  • Know the first day that your most recent menstrual period started, how long it lasted, and whether it was a “normal” period for you
  • Write down any questions you have so you won't forget to ask them
  • Don't have sexual intercourse, douche, or use vaginal preparations for 24-48 hours before your pelvic exam, as these can interfere with testing
  • Bring your insurance card with you to your visit

STI Testing

The Student Health Center offers screening tests for the following sexually transmitted infections:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomonas
  • Lesions concerning for herpes

Depending on sexual practices and risk assessment testing may consist of urine, anal swab, vaginal swab, oral swab, or blood work. Results typically take 4-5 days but may be longer or shorter depending on the volume of tests the laboratory is processing. Most insurance companies cover STI screening tests in full, but we recommend checking your policy to confirm that you have coverage in the Rochester area.

HPV and Gardasil

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, most commonly through sexual contact (oral, vaginal, anal). Most individuals are not aware that they have the virus if they do not have any symptoms, but they may unknowingly spread it to others.

  • HPV has multiple subtypes, most of which are essentially harmless, which do not cause significant problems and may resolve on their own. Some subtypes cause genital warts - unsightly growths that can appear on the penis, scrotum, anus, vagina, or labia – while others do not cause visible lesions, but can cause changes in the cells of the cervix, vagina, and vulva, the penis, the lining of the mouth and throat, and the lining of the anus and rectum.
  • Within these subtypes are some that are considered “higher risk” and can cause cellular changes that can lead to cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, oral, or anal cancer. Higher risk types can be detected by a Pap test of the cervix or anus, a microscopic examination of the cells that may reveal abnormalities characteristic of HPV infection.
  • Use protection, such as condoms and other barriers consistently to help prevent HPV and other sexually transmitted infections
  • Get screened for cervical and anal cancer with a Pap test
  • Get vaccinated against HPV with Gardasil


Gardasil is a vaccine that protects men and women against nine different subtypes of HPV. Gardasil is approved for men through age 21 and women through age 26.

  • The best time to get Gardasil is before exposure to the virus, which is why it is recommended that boys and girls get the vaccine at age 11 or 12, before the onset of sexual activity.
  • It is recommended that men who have sex with men and did not get the vaccine as children, get the vaccine to “catch up” – up to age 26.
  • Your primary care or women’s health care provider.
  • Planned Parenthood and county health department vaccine clinics.
  • The Student Health Center offers Gardasil at $220 per dose, which is payable by cash, check, TigerBucks, Visa, or MasterCard. We can give you a receipt to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement (if applicable).
  • Make an appointment at the Student Health Center to obtain a prescription for the vaccine to be purchased at an outside pharmacy and then bring the vaccine to the Student Health Center for administration.

If you started the Gardasil series elsewhere and need to get a dose while you are at school to stay on schedule, please bring documentation of previous doses (with the date(s) given) to your appointment, or ask your health care provider to fax it to our office.


The Student Health Center offers Prep Pre-exposure HIV Prophylaxis (PrEP) to the RIT student community.

PrEP is a medication approved by the FDA for daily use that when taken as directed, has an estimated 99% rate of efficacy in preventing HIV infections.

PrEP patients meet with a provider every three months (90 days) for follow-up care that may involve:

  • Blood tests
  • HIV & STD screenings
  • Assessment of any drug side effects
  • Prescription refill options
  • A discussion of condom use and risk reduction in addition to PrEP medication
  • Assessment and support for taking medication

Gender Affirming Care

We support our students who are actively exploring their gender. Some are clear in their journey, some are early in the process. The timing and course is different for everyone. 

RIT uses an informed consent model of providing Gender Affirming Care, ensuring that you are involved in every step of your care. The Student Health Center is dedicated to helping people explore options surrounding Gender Affirming Care.

What to Expect from RIT Student Health Transgender Care Visits

First Visit

  • The purpose is for mutual information gathering, learning about the process, and a chance for you to ask questions
  • Discussion of hormones and other medication – intended effects and possible side effects
  • Reviewing consent forms specific to RIT and Gender Affirming Care
  • Baseline lab work – sometimes done at this visit but may be done at a future visit
  • Quest Medical Lab is the primary lab used at Student Health Center. Check with your insurance regarding coverage for labs. If you are not using your insurance, there is an option to pay for labs at the Student Health Center at a reduced rate.
  • Hormone prescription is typically prescribed at a later visit after we have established a good foundation of your care

Subsequent Visits

  • Continued gender exploration and follow up of medication (if taking)
  • Baseline and/or follow up labs if medications are prescribed
  • Medication adjustments based on lab results (if on medication)
  • Monitoring progress of changes occurring


Frequently Asked Questions

The following tables outline the onset and timing effects of hormone therapy referenced from Fenway Health's Medical Care of Trans and Gender Diverse Adults.

Effects of Testosterone

Effect Onset (Months)          Maximum (Years)  
Skin oiliness/acne 1-6 1-2
Fat redistribution 1-6 2-5
Cessation of menses 2-6  
Clitoral enlargement 3-6 1-2
Vaginal atrophy 3-6 1-2
Emotional changes    
Increased sex drives    
Deepening of voice 3-12 1-2
Facial/body hair growth 6-12 4-5
Scalp hair loss 6-12  
Increased muscle mass & strength             6-12 2-5
Coarser skin/increased sweating    
Weight gain/fluid retention    
Mild breast atrophy    
Weakening of tendons    

*Text in bold indicates changes that tend to be permanent.

Effects of Estrogen & Anti-Androgens

Effect Onset (Months)          Maximum (Years)  
Decreased libido 1-3 1-2
Decreased spontaneous erections                
Breast growth 3-6 2-3
Decreased testicular volume   3-6 2-3
Decreased sperm production Unknown Unknown
Redistribution of body fat 3-6 2-3
Decrease in muscle mass 3-6 1-2
Softening of skin 3-6 Unknown
Decreased terminal hair 6-12 > 3

*Text in bold indicates changes that tend to be permanent.

NOTE: Possible slowing or cessation of scalp hair loss, but no regrowth. No change in voice.

Each person responds to hormone therapy differently, and it is difficult to predict how you will respond. There is no way to avoid certain changes that occur with hormone therapy. It is important to note:

  • There are some changes that occur that are permanent, even if you decide to stop.
  • There are some changes to your body that will reverse if you stop hormone therapy (see table above).

​​​To maintain changes, hormone therapy is generally continued for the rest of your life.

​​​​​It is entirely your choice how you will cover labs, medications, and referrals (if needed). Lab work is an important part of care and is needed at certain intervals. RIT has obtained lower pricing with our lab (Quest). In order to receive this lower rate, payment is expected at the Student Health Center on the day of service. Medications vary in cost but there are formulations that are less expensive than others (e.g. injectable testosterone and oral estrogen are generally the cheapest but may not be the right choice for you). The insurance provided by RIT (Aetna) does cover a majority of the cost of GAH.

​​​​​We do not require students to seek counseling if you would like gender-affirming care. However, we find that many students benefit from the support as you are going through this transition. If you feel that you would like counseling, feel free to talk to your provider about resources on-campus and off-campus (e.g. Counseling and Psychological Services, PRISM, off-campus therapy).


There are various resources here on-campus to support you. 

RIT's Counseling and Psychological Services offers short-term individual and group counseling, as well as a variety of outreach groups and workshops.

The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Resource Center provides advocacy, education, and celebration for RIT community members of all genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations. The Resource Center team manages PRISM (PRogressive Intersectional Space to Meet), a community gathering space created to foster an educational environment in which all community members can be personally, academically, and professionally successful without regard to gender, racial/ethnic origins, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and socioeconomic status.

Gender Affirming Voice and Communication Group is hosted by the RIT/NTID Speech and Language Center for transfeminine and Trans masculine, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming students led by nationally and state-certified speech language pathologists. The goal of this group is to provide a safe space to gather, learn about ourselves, and practice. Group topics include vocal pitch and resonance, language, nonverbal communication, and much more.



If there is a medical emergency, call Public Safety 585-475-3333 or text 585-205-8333.