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Protect Your Privacy When Getting Confidential Material (like STI tests) in the Mail

It’s not as scary as it sounds

Protect Your Privacy When Getting Confidential Material (like STI tests) in the Mail

Getting sexual and reproductive health services can be…awkward. But you may be able to get tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other confidential materials through telehealth. Here are some frequently asked questions about telehealth and privacy.

1. Will the package show what’s inside?

When you’re getting sensitive medical stuff in the mail, you may not want the whole neighborhood to know your business. Luckily, most telehealth companies are discreet and often send their products in packaging with no marks or logos on the outside.

2. Who actually delivers the tests or medications?

Most providers will connect you with a lab where you can get STI tests and have the results sent digitally. Some telehealth companies deliver kits for you to collect your own vaginal, rectal, or oral specimen or blood sample, which you can take or mail to a lab for testing. These kits will be delivered by the same people who normally deliver your packages and mail.

3. What if the doctor needs to follow up with me?

With telehealth, any follow-up communication will be done digitally. So, no one will have access to your correspondence unless they have access to your phone or email. If you want to keep things private from someone who does have access to your phone or email, ask your telehealth provider if there’s another way to do follow‑ups.

4. Can I use insurance without my parents or partner finding out?

That all depends. If you’re paying with a credit, debit, or prepaid card, someone with access to your online bank info can see what you paid for. If your insurance reimburses you for services, you may get paperwork in the mail that itemizes the service you used, so anyone who reads it will know. Also be aware that in some states you have to be 18 to use telehealth.

Basically, if you want to use telehealth but don’t want anyone finding out what you’ve ordered, your best move is to pay out of pocket and not involve insurance at all. Luckily, many telehealth companies try to keep their prices low. So shop around! There are so many options, you should be able to find one that works for you.

Certain content on the page has been republished or reproduced with the permission of Power to Decide.

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Twirla® is a weekly birth control patch for women of reproductive potential with a BMI <30 kg/m2 for whom a combined hormonal contraceptive is appropriate.

Limitations of Use:

Twirla is less effective in women with a BMI ≥25 to <30 kg/m2 and should not be used in women with a BMI ≥30 kg/m2.

Important Safety Information about the TWIRLA® (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) transdermal system

  • Do not use TWIRLA if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from combination hormonal contraceptives (CHCs), including death from heart attack, blood clots or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.
  • Do not use TWIRLA if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 kg/m2 or more. If you do not know what your BMI is, please talk to your healthcare provider. Women with a 
    BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more who use CHCs may have a higher risk for developing side effects like blood clots compared to women with a BMI lower than 30 kg/m2.

Who should not use TWIRLA?

Do not use TWIRLA if you have or have had blood clots; history of heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure that medicine cannot control, any condition that makes your blood clot more than normal, or certain heart valve problems; smoke and are over 35 years old; BMI ≥30 kg/m2.

TWIRLA is also not for women who have diabetes and are over 35 years old, diabetes with high blood pressure or kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage, diabetes for longer than 20 years; have had breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones; certain kinds of severe migraine headaches; have liver problems or liver tumors; unexplained bleeding from the vagina; who are or may be pregnant; or who take hepatitis C drugs containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, as this may increase levels of liver enzymes in the blood.

TWIRLA may not be a good choice for you if you have ever had depression; jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) caused by pregnancy (also called cholestasis of pregnancy) or related to previous use of hormonal birth control.

What are the most serious side effects of TWIRLA?

TWIRLA increases the risks of serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially in women who have other risk factors. These can be life-threatening or lead to permanent disability. This increased risk is highest when you first start using hormonal birth control and when you restart the same or different hormonal birth control after not using it for a month or more. Treatment with TWIRLA should be stopped at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery.

What are the most common side effects of TWIRLA?

The most common side effects reported by women using TWIRLA in a study were skin reactions at the patch site, nausea, headache, menstrual cramps, and weight gain.

These are not all the possible side effects of TWIRLA. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

What else should I know about TWIRLA?

TWIRLA is a birth control patch for women with a BMI less than 30 kg/m2 who can become pregnant. It contains two female hormones, a progestin called levonorgestrel, and an estrogen called ethinyl estradiol. TWIRLA may not be as effective in women with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 or more. If you have a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more, please talk with your healthcare provider about which method of birth control is right for you.

You should not use TWIRLA any earlier than 4 weeks after having a baby or if you are breastfeeding.

Hormonal birth control methods help to lower the chances of becoming pregnant when taken as directed. They do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The risk information provided here is not complete. To learn more, review the TWIRLA Patient Information and talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Important Safety Information, 
Including Boxed Warning

  • Do not use TWIRLA if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from combination hormonal contraceptives (CHCs), including death from heart attack, blood clots or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.
  • Do not use TWIRLA if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 kg/m2 or more. If you do not know what your BMI is, please talk to your healthcare provider. Women with a 
    BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more who use CHCs may have a higher risk for developing side effects like blood clots compared to women with a BMI lower than 30 kg/m2.