Source: Planned Parenthood of Delaware
Published: 04.18.12| Updated: 04.18.12
Source: Planned Parenthood of Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware -- The fourth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign kicks off National STD Awareness Month (April) with new initiatives on-air, online, and on the ground at college campuses and in more than 5,000 health centers across the nation. GYT is a national campaign supported by a broad coalition of partners, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, designed to address the high rates of STDs among those under 25.
During the month of April, Planned Parenthood volunteers and VOX, Voices for Planned Parenthood, a recognized student organization at University of Delaware, will be conducting outreach events in support of GYT. Planned Parenthood health centers offer low-cost STD testing throughout the year, and they welcome patients of every background.
"STDs often have no symptoms, so many people who are infected don't know it. Getting tested is simply a basic part of staying healthy," said Nanci Hoffman, President and CEO. "Lack of information, misconceptions, or social stigma keep many young people from getting tested for STDs, but people should know that testing is easier than ever before. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as fast as 20 minutes from just a swab inside the mouth."
GYT public service messages air throughout the year on MTV channels with cross promotions with health centers and community organizations. Extensive resources are available at www.GYTnow.org, which is a dedicated website providing basic information about common STDs, talking tips, and a zip code locator to find local testing locations. Individuals can also utilize the mobile testing locator, texting GYTNOW (498669) to find the nearest testing site. During April, the campaign scales up its presence by introducing new messaging and outreach. Some elements of this year's national GYT campaign include:
As many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25 -- and most won't know it . GYT encourages young people to talk with health care providers and partners about getting tested for STDs. According to the CDC, approximately half of the estimated 19 million STDs occurring in the United States each year are among people 25 and younger. When left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection, infertility and cancer.
During last year's GYT campaign, Planned Parenthood health centers tested almost 125,000 men and women in April, and Planned Parenthood affiliates held 240 events with 1,250 youth volunteers, reaching 67,000 people. Data collected from 10 Planned Parenthood affiliates show that STD testing has increased significantly during the month of April since the launch of GYT in 2009. Among the 10 affiliates, there was a 51 percent increase in patients getting tested in April 2011, as compared to the same time in 2008, prior to the launch of the campaign -- indicating that the campaign helped drive an increase in STD tests. Nationally, Planned Parenthood achieved especially large increases in the patients from populations most affected by STDs, including African Americans and people living at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.
The mission of Planned Parenthood of Delaware 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, gynecological services, abortion, cancer screening, STD testing and treatment, health education, and more. The agency serves all three counties, has operated in Delaware for 80 years, and serves 11,000 clients a year. For further information, check out www.ppdel.org.
GYT launched in 2009 as an extension of a longstanding public information partnership between MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation. It is supported by a broad range of organizations including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), American College Health Association (ACHA), American Social Health Association (ASHA), the National Chlamydia Coalition (NCC), the CDC, and various state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and non-profits. Gilead Sciences, Inc. provides support and resources for select elements of the campaign. CDC provided assistance to ensure scientific accuracy of GYT health information. Comprehensive informational resources -- designed for Web and mobile applications -- provide facts and referrals to local health centers. For more information visit www.GYTNOW.org.