National “GYT: Get Yourself Tested” Campaign Promotes Facts and Dispels Myths Around STDs and Testing
New York, NY – In honor of National STD Awareness Month, the seventh annual national GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign has commenced with online and on-the-ground activities across the country. GYT encourages young people to get tested and to know the facts about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and promotes STD testing among young people as a basic and empowering part of sexual health. GYT is a collaborative effort of the American College Health Association (ACHA), the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), MTV, National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), with technical consultation provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
GYT provides young people with the information, education, and resources they need to take control of their sexual and reproductive health. Research released last year suggests that the campaign successfully increased STD testing, including a 71 percent increase in testing at Planned Parenthood affiliates from 2008 to 2010.
GYT will be rolling out a series of activities in April to raise awareness of STDs:
- Community health centers, youth groups, public health STD clinics, and college campuses will hold STD testing outreach and education events across the country throughout the month of April.
- Planned Parenthood has organized more than 100 youth, education, and outreach events for the month.
- A series of GYT public messages will run on MTV, pointing young people to information and resources on STD testing and prevention.
- Social media and websites will share GYT messages aimed at increasing awareness of STDs among young people and linking them to testing services.
Although they represent only a quarter of the sexually active population, people under 25 account for half of the estimated 20 million new STD infections each year. Of even greater concern is that many of them are unaware of their infection.
Getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things sexually active young people can do to protect their health; STD tests are quick, simple, and painless. If not treated, STDs can lead to serious health problems. Having an STD, such as herpes or gonorrhea, can increase a person’s chances of getting HIV. STD recommendations include:
- HIV testing for everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 at least once, and more frequently for high-risk groups
- Annual testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea for all sexually active women under the age of 25
- Screening at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea for all sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Some people may need more frequent testing (for example, every 3-6 months).
In addition to these recommended tests, it is important for young people and their doctors to have open conversations to determine whether additional tests are needed.
To find a testing location, visit gettested.cdc.gov. The GYT campaign provides further information on STDs and testing at gytnow.org.
“Everyone deserves a safe and healthy sex life. Getting tested and knowing your STD status shows that you care about your health, as well as the health of your partner,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “As a young person, it’s a basic part of taking care of your body. And Planned Parenthood is here to keep you healthy: we offer STD testing, treatment, and sex education and information to help you take charge of your sexual health.”
“Many STDs show no symptoms and most who have one don’t know it,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communication and Media Partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “GYT is an empowering message to stem the epidemic spread of these diseases by normalizing prevention, testing and treatment.
“GYT has proven to be an important catalyst in driving young people to get tested for STDs,” said Ronnie Cho, Vice President of Public Affairs at MTV. “MTV is proud to continue our ongoing collaborative efforts to empower and encourage our audience to make responsible decisions about their sexual health.”
“On behalf of all the STD programs in state and local health departments across the country, we are proud to be a part of GYT,” stated William Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD). “Having access to confidential, and youth-friendly STD testing is so vital to addressing our STD epidemics, and health departments across the country are proud to provide these services and assure they are made available.”
“We strongly support the GYT as an effective program to increase knowledge and reduce stigma around STI testing among college students,” said Sarah Van Orman, President of the American College Health Association. “Promoting good sexual and reproductive health among college student populations supports healthier campuses and short- and long-term health of our students.”
Responding to the fact that people under 25 account for half of the 20 million new STDs occurring in the U.S. each year — and many don’t know they are infected — the GYT campaign is an empowering social movement to encourage young people to get tested and treated, as needed, for STDs, including HIV. GYT increases awareness about STDs and how to prevent them; links young people to STD testing services; and promotes a more open dialogue with partners and health care providers.
GYT encourages testing for STDs, including HIV, as recommended by the CDC, and empowers young people to have an open dialogue about STDs.
GYT was launched in April 2009 as an ongoing promotion under It’s Your (Sex) Life, a long-standing public information partnership of MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Supporting partners of GYT include: American College Health Association (ACHA), Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), MTV and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Technical consultation is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About American College Health Association:
The American College Health Association serves as the principal leadership organization for advancing the health of college students and campus communities through advocacy, education, and research.
About Kaiser Family Foundation:
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted information on national health issues. The Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Menlo Park, California.
MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV’s sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is the leading destination for music, news and pop culture. 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. For more information, go to www.mtvpress.com.
About Planned Parenthood:
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 approximately 700 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.
About The National Coalition of STD Directors:
The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) is a partnership of public health professionals dedicated to promoting sexual health through the prevention of STDs. NCSD provides dynamic leadership that strengthens STD Programs by advocating for effective policies, strategies, and sufficient resources by increasing awareness of the medical and social impacts of STDs. For more information, visit www.NCSDDC.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 700 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.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
April 09, 2015