Planned Parenthood of Maryland Joins the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Encourages Youth to "Get Yourself Tested" at Rams Head Live!
Baltimore, MD, April 21, 2011 – To help reduce the alarming rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young people, Planned Parenthood of Maryland will give away vouchers for free or low-cost HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea testing during Hopeless Record’s Take Action Tour concert at Rams Head Live! located at the intersection of Market Place and Water Street in downtown Baltimore, Maryland right off interstate 83 on Monday, April 25th from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
The Planned Parenthood mobile awareness event is part of STD awareness and prevention activities being held across the country during the annual GYT - Get Yourself Tested - campaign. Now in its third year, the award-winning GYT campaign is a partnership between Planned Parenthood, MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the Take Action Tour concert - headlined by indie bands Silverstein, Bayside, Polar Bear Club, The Swellers and Texas in July - a Planned Parenthood van will distribute condoms, T-shirts, sexual health information, and limited number of vouchers that can be redeemed for free or low-cost STD and HIV tests.
As many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25 - and most won’t know it. The Baltimore-Towson metro area has the 4th highest AIDS case report rate of any major metropolitan area in the country. The most alarming aspect of current Baltimore STD facts is that many sexually transmitted diseases exhibit no signs or symptoms. If you are a Baltimore area resident who is worried that you may have contracted an STD, the only way to determine whether or not transmission has actually occurred is through a simple STD test.
The GYT campaign is focusing this year on getting sexually active Americans under age 25 to embrace STD testing as part of a healthy, productive life. According to the CDC, this age group represents half of the estimated 19 million sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year. When left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection, infertility and cancer.
“With this mobile awareness event, we’re going to young people and educating them to the fact that STD testing is a simple, quick process that should be a normal part of their health care,” says Kim Nelson-Chaney, VP of Clinical Services at Planned Parenthood of Maryland. “We want them to know that Planned Parenthood is here to provide them with high-quality, affordable sexual health care.”
The mobile awareness event is made possible in part by the donation of rapid HIV test kits from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). “It is a privilege for AIDS Healthcare Foundation to team with Planned Parenthood and respected local partners on this GYT campaign effort,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, senior director of AHF’s Public Health Division. “We believe this awareness effort along with access to free and low-cost testing will raise critical awareness of HIV testing.”
Data collected from 10 Planned Parenthood affiliates show that STD testing has increased sharply since the launch of GYT in 2008. From 2008 to 2010, the number of patients tested in those 10 affiliates’ two dozen health centers rose by an average of 71–72 percent among women and 65 percent among men. Nationally, Planned Parenthood has achieved especially large increases in the 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 Maryland is to enable all Marylanders to have access to a wide range of high quality affordable reproductive health care services. By providing medical services, education, training and advocacy, PPM seeks to help individuals make informed decisions about their reproductive health, family planning options and sexuality.