This April, Planned Parenthood is celebrating Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Month as part of its sexually transmitted infection (STI) awareness campaign. Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP) is offering free HIV testing on April 18 all of its health centers to encourage everyone to get tested. You can call (800) 230-PLAN or visit www.pphp.org to schedule an appointment.
There are many myths and misunderstandings about having an STI:
- Anyone who has had vaginal, oral or anal sex could get an STI. No one should be shamed, harassed or judged because they have an STI or because they want to use protection. Disclosing one’s status can be difficult, especially if people continue to shame those who have STIs.
- ALL STIs—even HIV—are treatable, and many are curable. Early treatment can help prevent serious, lifelong health problems that can result from STIs, but the only way to know your status is to Get Yourself Tested.
- Not all medical checkups include STI testing—so unless you ask to be tested, you can’t assume you have been. Most tests require just a urine sample. The CDC recommends:
- 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)
- HIV testing at least once for all adults and adolescents
- HIV testing at least once a year if you have sex without a condom or share needles.
Conversations about STIs don’t have to be uncomfortable. Getting tested and knowing your status shows you care about yourself and your partner. If you’re nervous, know the more you do it, the easier it gets! Please visit www.pphp.org to find the health center closest to you. Planned Parenthood health centers provide more than 4.4 million STI tests annually, including more than 705,000 HIV tests, making it a leader in STI testing and treatment. Planned Parenthood believe that access to safer sex—including tools, testing and treatment—is the best way to ensure that people of all ages stay healthy and safe. Everyone deserves to have a healthy and pleasurable sex life.