ROANOKE, VA — The Virginia health centers of Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. (PPHS) are participating in “GYT: Get Yourself Tested,” a nationwide campaign with MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation to increase testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among those under 25 years of age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia ranks 30th nationally in cases of Chlamydia with 24,579 reported cases in 2007. (Reported cases represent only a fraction of the actual number of people infected in the state.) Virginia ranks 28th in reported cases of gonorrhea and 18th
in reported cases of syphilis.
GYT kicks off with a mix of promotions on-air, online and in the real world that will unfold during the month of April in recognition of National STD Awareness Month. The primary online headquarters of the campaign, GYT09.org, is providing comprehensive information about STDs and will direct users to the nearest testing location simply by entering a zip code. A mobile companion to GYT09.org, the GYT short code (49809), provides details about local testing locations to mobile phones by texting a zip code.
Throughout April and beyond, PPHS health centers in Virginia are offering affordable testing and treatment of STDs. High school students who come in for annual preventive health exams are receiving Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing at no charge.
“Most people would be shocked to hear that, by age 25, one in two sexually active young people will have an STD. This is not just a statistic. It’s the reality that Planned Parenthood health centers face every day,” said David Nova, PPHS Vice President. “The GYT campaign is designed to teach the public what Planned Parenthood already knows — that affordable testing and treatment plus education are the tools teens and young people need to stay healthy and safe.”
An all-star collective of pop culture personalities are carrying the GYT message far and wide, appearing in a series of attention-getting on-air and online promotions on MTV and other MTV Network properties this month; blasting out GYT on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms; wearing GYT on their chest and sleeves; and of course, going to health centers in order to get tested for STDs.
From OMG to LOL, the acronyms of young people’s everyday vernacular act as common methods of communication. By mimicking mobile and Web slang, GYT encourages young people to talk about sexual health and get tested for STDs. GYT helps internalize the risk of STDs and eliminates taboos and stigmas surrounding STDs and STD testing.
Throughout the GYT Campaign, STD testing and treatment services are available at PPHS’s Virginia health centers in Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Roanoke.
Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. is a private, nonprofit family planning agency that respects and protects the rights of each man and woman to make informed reproductive decisions. Our mission is to provide accessible, high-quality health care and information to clients and to serve as advocate and educator to the community on responsible human sexuality. We have offices in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.