(Wilmington, DE) — In response to the staggering rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among youth in the U.S., Planned Parenthood of Delaware, Latin American Community Center and Delaware HIV Consortium are working with MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to kick off National STD Awareness month with the return of the award-winning campaign, GYT: Get Yourself Tested.
Playing off mobile and Web slang in young people’s everyday vernacular, such as “BRB” and “LOL,” GYT is an easy way for young people to talk about sexual health and getting tested for STDs. This reminder is as important as ever when one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25. The GYT ’10 campaign encourages Americans under age 25 to talk with health care providers and partners about getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
“The doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood hear from young patients all the time that talking about getting tested is difficult, but such a relief once they get talking,” said Nanci Hoffman, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Delaware. “We know that the GYT campaign works. In the first year of the campaign, Planned Parenthood saw a sharp increase in testing, and we are committed to increasing the number of young people who get tested again this year. The good news is that testing for many STDs is simple, it doesn’t hurt, and it’s free.”
STD awareness, testing and treatment in Delaware are particularly important due to the state’s high incidence of some diseases, and reported sexual activity among young people. Delaware is:
- 1st in the nation for high school students reporting sexual activity;
- 8th in the nation per capita for people with Chlamydia;
- 7th in the nation per capita for people with Gonorrhea;
- 6th in the nation per capita for people with HIV-AIDS infection.
This year, GYT is rolling out a series of new initiatives nationally and locally: on-air, online, and on the ground at college campuses and in more than 4,000 health centers and clinics across the nation, including -
- Free Testing, Education and Condoms – Planned Parenthood is offering free, confidential STD testing, and free condoms. People can put their mind at ease and learn to protect themselves all at the same time. The Latin American Community Center HIV/AIDS Prevention Program offers free and confidential HIV counseling and testing with results given in only ten minutes. The HIV Program also provides free education, condoms and appropriate referrals to STD testing services. All HIV services are provided in English and Spanish.
- GYT VOX at UD — The Vox Chapter at UD will do a “Dorm Storm” where they distribute condoms and literature urging people to get tested and be smart when sexually active.
- Celebs Talk GYT — In a series of on-air and online promotions, celebrities including Keri Hilson, Debi Nova, Emily VanCamp of Brothers and Sisters, Iyaz, and more join the campaign’s cast of all-star pop culture personalities spreading the GYT message far and wide.
- GYT Nation — An extensive on-the-ground outreach effort is taking GYT to communities across the country. GYT promotional materials, including T-shirts, posters, buttons, and stickers are being distributed to more than 4,000 health centers nationwide, including Planned Parenthood’s network of more than 840 health centers. The CDC is also working with state and local health departments, the American Social Health Association (ASHA) and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) to get out information about the campaign. And the American College Health Association (ACHA) has joined the GYT campaign to spread the word and distribute GYT materials through college health centers.
- www.GYTNOW.org — The central hub of the campaign, GYTNOW.org is a comprehensive information resource that includes facts about STDs; talking tips on how to discuss STD testing with partners, parents, and health care providers; and a testing location finder that connects users to local testing resources by simply entering a zip code. A wide range of GYT-based content, including all of the participating artists and celebrities are also showcased on the site. Additionally, fans can connect to GYT via Facebook or Twitter.
- GYTNOW short code and MTV Movie Awards Sweepstakes — A mobile companion to GYTNOW.org, the GYT short code (498669) provides details about local testing locations to mobile phones by simply texting a zip code. Users of the service during the month of April will become eligible to win a trip for two to the 2009 MTV Movie Awards in LA. Users can also enter the sweepstakes online by using the testing location finder at GYTNOW.org.
- mtvU Dean’s List — A freshman at the University of Hartford takes over as host for a new episode of mtvU’s Dean’s List. During this hour-long countdown of the music that’s making an impact on her campus, the audience will also follow as Kayla gets tested at a Planned Parenthood health center, dispels myths about STDs and testing, and talks to young people about why it’s important to GYT in college today.
GYT is supported by a broad range of organizations including the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), American College Health Association (ACHA), ASHA (American Social Health Association) and various state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and nonprofits.
For more information visit www.GYTNOW.org.
About Planned Parenthood of Delaware
The mission of PPDE is to ensure the right of all individuals to access the appropriate information and the services necessary to make and act on personal decisions related to their own reproduction, sexuality and health. Planned Parenthood provides family planning, prenatal care, abortion, cancer screening and prevention, health education, and more. The agency serves all three counties, has operated in Delaware for over 75 years, and serves over 11,000 clients a year. For further information, check out www.ppdel.org.
About Latin American Community Center
The mission of the Latin American Community Center is to advocate for and assist the Latino Community by offering services in a continuum of care that promotes empowerment and an enhanced quality of life while celebrating our diverse cultures. Established in 1969, it is the largest, fully bi-lingual and bi-cultural, multi-services agency in the state of Delaware, assisting more than 18,000 individuals annually. Since 1996, the Latin American Community Center has provided free and confidential HIV prevention, testing and counseling services. For more information, please visit http://www.thelatincenter.org/
About the Delaware HIV Consortium
Delaware HIV Consortium is dedicated to eliminating the spread of HIV/AIDS and to creating a seamless continuum of care for all people infected and affected in Delaware. The Delaware HIV Consortium is a statewide non-profit organization established to facilitate collaboration among its members and to ensure that quality, non-duplicative HIV treatment and prevention services are available throughout Delaware. For more info visit www.delawarehiv.org.