"Get Yourself Tested Now" Encourages Young People To Get Tested For Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Center for Disease Control and MTV networks have joined forces again this year to encourage young people to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) during STD Awareness Month. The campaign, titled GYTNOW, aims to raise awareness about testing and focuses on open communication about testing between partners and healthcare providers. To promote GYTNOW locally, Planned Parenthood of Western New York is offering $40 painless testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV for men and women throughout the month of April.
Why GYTNOW? GYTNOW is an acronym standing for Get Yourself Tested – NOW. For a generation used to communicating in shorthand, GYTNOW presents STD testing in a familiar and relatable way. Testing should be about pride, not shame.
According to the American Social Health Association, 19 million Americans will be diagnosed with an STD this year and 65 million American are living with a viral STD. With the high prevalence of STDs and long term health consequences including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, cancer, and in some cases death, it is of the utmost importance that individuals who are sexually active get tested regularly for STDs. Planned Parenthood is committed to providing an affordable way for the Western New York Community to confidentially receive testing and treatment for some of the most common STDs.
“In 2007, according the New York State Department of Health, Erie County had the highest rate of Gonorrhea in all of New York State. I hope that people will use the GYTNOW campaign to get tested and bring those numbers down,” said Colleen Schiffhauer, Director of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood of Western New York.
Something new for Planned Parenthood and the GYT campaign is the use of mobile devices to help clients locate a testing center near them. Individuals can text their zip code to GYTNOW (498669) and receive a text message with the addresses of participating health centers.
“We want to use technology to help people seek testing and treatment for STDs. Young people can text GYTNOW and receive a list of centers close to them. We want to make getting tested for STDs as easy and affordable as possible,” said Karen J. Nelson, Chief Executive Officer.
Planned Parenthood of Western New York provides reproductive and family healthcare, promotes responsible and healthy sexuality, and protects choice. It has 6 health centers in the Western New York region, one teen after-school education center and a 36 foot mobile health care unit. It serves over 10,000 women and men with reproductive health care each year. Its Niagara County pediatric practice serves 3,500 children with primary care each year.