The All-American Rejects, Santigold, Good Charlotte, Big Boi, Asher Roth, Keri Hilson, Perez Hilton, and N.E.R.D. Evangelize Youth STD Testing
National Campaign with the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood and Others includes On-Air Programming, Viral Online Media, SMS Testing Locator, and In-Clinic Outreach
One in Two Sexually-Active Americans Contracts an STD by Age 25
New York, NY, April 2, 2009 – MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation, working with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its nationwide network of health centers, and other partners nationwide, today officially unveiled GYT: “Get Yourself Tested,” a campaign to increase testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among those under 25 years old.
An extension of MTV and Kaiser’s Emmy and Peabody-winning “It’s Your (Sex) Life” partnership to promote responsible decision making about sex, GYT kicked off yesterday with a mix of guerilla promotions on-air, online and in the real world – which will continue unfolding throughout the month of April in recognition of National STD Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four teen girls in the U.S. have at least one common STD. Other estimates find that as many as one in two sexually-active young people will contract an STD by age 25 – and most won’t know it. In response to these facts, the GYT campaign informs young people about STDs and promotes testing and treatment as needed.
An all-star collective of pop culture personalities are carrying the GYT message far and wide, including Flo Rida, The All-American Rejects, Asher Roth, N.E.R.D., Santigold, Perez Hilton, Benji Madden and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, Big Boi, Keri Hilson, Soulja Boy, Joanna Garcia, Kid Sister, Chester French and Joy Bryant. These and other stars are 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 get tested for STDs.
From OMG to LOL, acronyms saturate young people’s everyday vernacular, acting as common methods of communication. Playing off mobile and Web slang, GYT is an easy way for young people to talk about sexual health and getting tested for STDs. GYT will help young people internalize the risk of STDs, as individuals and as a generation, seeking to eliminate taboos and stigmas surrounding STDs and STD testing.
GYT will also be woven throughout MTV programming, making appearances in popular shows, music videos and more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided assistance to ensure scientific accuracy of GYT health information. Additional campaign elements include:
- www.gyt09.org – The central hub of the campaign, gyt09.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.
- GYT short code and MTV Movie Awards Sweepstakes – A mobile companion to gyt09.org, the GYT short code (49809) 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 GYT09.org.
- GYT Facebook Application- A downloadable GYT Facebook photo tagging application that helps normalize STD testing by affixing the concept to young peoples’ everyday lives. The application is available for download on gyt09.org. Users are also encouraged to become GYT fans on Facebook.
- Pedro – GYT kicked off last night during the world television premiere of Pedro, a movie based on the remarkable life of “The Real World’s” Pedro Zamora. Told through the eyes of his friends and family – and written by Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award-winning writer of Milk – Pedro celebrates the extraordinary life a young man who found out he was HIV positive at 17, then made the courageous decision to dedicate his life to speaking out about and fighting the spread of the disease. Encore performances of Pedro on MTV are scheduled for April 2nd at 9am ET/PT and at 4pm ET/PT, April 3rd at 2pm ET/PT, and April 5th at 8am ET/PT on MTV and on-demand at www.pedro.mtv.com. Additionally, fans can get to know Pedro by viewing the full season of The Real World San Francisco online. An educational discussion guide created by Planned Parenthood for the movie is available online at www.gyt09.org and at www.plannedparenthood.org.
- GYT in Second Life – Virtual GYT awareness bracelets and information will be available on CDC Island, the headquarters for the CDC in Second Life which acts as a venue for forums, meetings, and education on the mission of the CDC.
- Music Video Premieres – Chester French and Asher Roth are MTV’s featured artists for April, and will help weave the GYT message throughout MTV programming all month long. Additionally, MTV Hits and Jams will feature GYT playlists throughout the month of April.
- Community Outreach – Planned Parenthood is providing educational resources online and at its nationwide network of health centers. GYT promotional materials, including posters, buttons, stickers and compilation reels, are being distributed to Planned Parenthood’s more than 800 health centers across the country and other testing locations to provide community-level support for the campaign.
The New York City Department of Health, American Social Health Association and the National Coalition of STD Directors, among others, are also supporting the campaign’s community outreach efforts.
“The only way to know the status of your sexual health is to get tested. There’s no way around that fact,” said Stephen Friedman, General Manager of MTV. “This generation has the opportunity to redefine the conversation surrounding STDs and to break down stigmas. We hope this campaign will help arm our audience with the information and the ability to make GYT part of everyday life.”
"Despite being a very common health issue, many young people still don't get tested for STDs due to a lack of knowledge and stigma," said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director, Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. "The GYT campaign is about making STD testing empowering, not shameful."
“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 but the reality of what Planned Parenthood health centers see every day,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “The GYT campaign is an excellent opportunity for people to learn what Planned Parenthood knows — that affordable testing and treatment, and education, are the tools teens and young people need to stay healthy and safe.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the approximately 19 million new STDs (also referred to as sexually transmitted infections or STIs) that occur every year in the U.S., about half are among those 15 – 24 years of age. Since STDs often have no symptoms, most of those who are infected don’t know it. Lack of information, misconceptions and social stigma keep many people from getting tested. Others may mistakenly believe they have been tested as part of general health care. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most commonly reported STDs, is easier than ever before with many clinics now offering urine-based tests. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as little as 20 minutes with a swab inside the mouth. Diagnosis and treatment of STDs is critical to safe guarding personal health, fostering sexual responsibility and addressing the wider STD epidemic.
Since 1997, the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV have partnered on an extensive, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning public information campaign on HIV/AIDs, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and related sexual health issues. The partnership includes targeted public service advertisements (PSAs), entertainment and other special programming, news segments, and free resources, including an informational guide developed especially for the campaign, and an extensive website www.itsyoursexlife.com.
For more information on GYT, please visit www.GYT09.org.
MTV is the dynamic, vibrant experiment at the intersection of music, creativity and youth culture. For over 26 years, MTV has evolved, challenged the norm, and detonated boundaries -- giving each new generation a creative outlet and voice that entertains, informs and unites on every platform and screen. On-air, MTV has been the number one rated 24 hour ad-supported cable network P12-24 for 16 straight years. Online, MTV.com scored double-digit growth in 2007 and MTV launched 15 dynamic online communities and eight new virtual worlds. On the go, MTV Mobile is the #1 music brand in the wireless space – delivering 90% more streams than in 2006. And MTV’s successful sibling networks MTV2, mtvU and MTV Tr3s each deliver unprecedented customized content, super-serving music fans, college students and young American Latinos like no one else. MTV is part of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Wanna know more? Come on in… www.mtvpress.com.
About The Kaiser Family Foundation
The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible information, research and analysis on health issues.
About Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate nearly 880 health centers nationwide, providing high quality medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs. For more than 90 years, Planned Parenthood, a trusted health care provider, has done more than any other organization in the United States to improve women’s health and safety, prevent unintended pregnancies, and advance the right and ability of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices.
 http://www.ashastd.org/learn/learn_statistics.cfm, Cates JR, Herndon NL, Schulz S L, Darroch JE. (2004). Our voices, our lives, our futures: Youth and sexually transmitted diseases. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.