PPWNM Urges Young People to GYT (Get Yourself Tested) During April's STD Awareness Month
PPWNM Joins MTV, the CDC, and the Kaiser Family Foundation in GYT Campaign;
Offering $50 STD Testing and Free Pizza Party for Teens
"Get Yourself Tested" — New Data Shows 20 Million STDs Occur Each Year
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — The fifth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign kicks off in April (National STD Awareness Month) with online and on-the-ground initiatives across the country. GYT is a national campaign designed to promote sexual health and address the high rates of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) among those under 25.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that STDs (also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs) are on the rise in the United States, especially among young people. There are now about 20 million new infections in the U.S. each year, half among the under 25 age group — even though this group represents only 25 percent of the sexually experienced population.
"Getting tested is a basic part of staying healthy and taking control of your sex life. Many STDs cause no symptoms, so the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested," said Kym Duursma, PPWNM senior education specialist. "We know that when not treated, STDs can increase the risk of infertility and cervical cancer — but that virtually all STDs, including HIV, are treatable and many are curable. The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get treated."
During GYT month in April, come in to Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) to get tested for three STDs — chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV — for just $50.
In addition, PPWNM's education program will hold a free GYT pizza party for young people ages 14 and up, featuring sex education trivia and other fun learning activities. Ten $25 gift cards will be raffled to those who register and attend in full. The GYT party is Tuesday, April 30, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 425 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids. Registration is required. Call (616) 774-7005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planned Parenthood health centers offer low-cost STD testing throughout the year, and their doors are open to everyone. PPWNM accepts Medicaid, the Michigan Plan First! family planning program, and most insurances including Blue Care Network, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Priority Health.
"Getting tested is easier than ever before. For example, rapid HIV tests can provide results in as fast as 20 minutes from just a tiny poke to the finger," said Duursma. "Once you know your status, you can immediately take action to stay healthy and protect yourself against future STDs. We want everyone — men, women, and young people — to lead the healthiest lives possible."
During last year's GYT campaign, Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide tested over 332,000 men and women and Planned Parenthood affiliates held nearly 300 events reaching over 14,000 people.
As part of the effort to create the healthiest generation ever, Planned Parenthood works every day to reduce the U.S.'s high rates of STDs through education, testing, and treatment. Every year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for STDs, including HIV.
The award-winning GYT campaign focuses on getting sexually active Americans under age 25 to embrace STD testing as part of a healthy, productive life. Launched in 2009 by a partnership between MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the CDC, it is supported by a broad range of organizations, state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and non-profits. GYT public service messages air throughout the year on MTV channels with cross promotions with health centers and community organizations. Extensive information resources, including a dedicated website (http://www.gytnow.org/), provide information about common STDs, talking tips, and a zip code locator to find local testing locations.
Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) provides sexual health care and sexuality education services, and advocates for access to these services for everyone. PPWNM, an affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, operates health centers in eight Michigan cities -- Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, Ionia, Marquette, Muskegon, Petoskey, Traverse City, and Wyoming — providing medical and education services to thousands of women, men, and teenagers each year. Log on, learn more: ppwnm.org.