New York, NY — As part of STD Awareness Month in April, Planned Parenthood is celebrating “GYT: Get Yourself Tested,” a national campaign focused on helping young people take charge of their sexual health, normalizing positive perceptions and beliefs about people who get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and encouraging people to talk with their partners about getting tested and using protection.
Getting tested for STIs is an essential part of staying healthy and taking care of your well-being,” said Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “I encourage my patients and all sexually active individuals to get tested regularly, always use protection, and speak honestly and openly about STI status and history with their partners. STI tests are quick, painless, and completely confidential, and they must be a routine part of regular health care visits.
There are still many myths and misunderstandings about having an STI, which play a role in why more people don’t get the tests and treatment they need. It’s important for people to know that all STIs, including HIV, are treatable, and many are curable. The reality is that getting an STI or having a partner with an STI is extremely common. Anyone who ever has vaginal, anal, or oral sex could get an STI. Having an STI is not something anyone should be shamed or judged for.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that almost 2.3 million cases of syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea were diagnosed in the United States in 2017, highlighting the need for more access to sexual health care and information. This marked the fourth consecutive year of increases in the rates of these STIs.
Amidst these rising STI rates, the Trump-Pence administration is moving this country in the wrong direction. The administration just released a final gag rule that would dismantle Title X–– the nation’s dedicated birth control and reproductive health program. Title X is meant to ensure that people struggling to make ends meet can still access basic care, such as STI testing and treatment, at places like Planned Parenthood health centers. Without Title X,many patients will lose access to free or low-cost basic care like STI testing and treatment.
Planned Parenthood is proud to be a leader in STI testing, treatment, education, and prevention efforts. Every one of our health centers is proud to offer STI prevention options, testing, treatment, education, and information to help you take charge of your sexual health. Each year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide more than4.7 million STI tests and treatment services, including more than 740,000 HIV tests. We’re also proud to offer PrEP, a daily pill that helps those at high risk of HIV reduce their risk of getting infected, in more than 400 health centers across 44 states, ” said Dr. Wen. “Access to health care — regardless of where you live, how much money you make, your background, or insurance status — is a human right. Planned Parenthood is committed to helping all people get the tools they need to stay safe and healthy — no matter what.
A report by amfAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research highlights how the gag rule will severely affect access to HIV testing and treatment, along with other preventative health services offered by the Title X program. Populations at the highest risk of acquiring HIV, including sexually active adolescents and young adults, Black and Latina women, and transgender people, will be hardest hit, especially people with intersecting identities.
STI prevention is a core part of Planned Parenthood’s health care services and education efforts. We know that access to resources for safer sex — including condoms and dental dams, testing, and treatment — and education about STI prevention, testing, and treatment are the best ways to ensure that people of all ages stay healthy and safe, no matter their STI status.
As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide education programs and outreach to 1.2 million people a year. Our doors are open to everyone. We believe that all people deserve high-quality, affordable health care and accurate, nonjudgmental sexual health information, no matter who they are, where they live, or where they’re from.
To find a Planned Parenthood health center near you, or to find more information about STIs, visit plannedparenthood.org.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.