“Get Yourself Tested” — New Data Shows 20 Million STDs Occur Each Year
BOSTON — Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is participating in the fifth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign, which promotes April as National STD Awareness Month with online and on-the-ground initiatives across the country. GYT is a national campaign designed to promote sexual health and address the high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among those under 25.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the United States, especially among young people. There are now about 20 million new infections in the United States each year. Half of these new infections occur among people under age 25, despite the fact that they represent only 25 percent of the sexually experienced population.
“Getting tested is one of the most important things women and men can do to take control of their sexual health. Regular screening for STDs is a basic part of staying healthy. Many STDs cause no symptoms, so the only way to definitively know your status is to get tested,” said PPLM Chief Executive Officer Marty Walz. “We know that without treatment, STDs can increase the risk of infertility and cervical cancer, but that virtually all STDs, including HIV, are treatable and many are curable. The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get treated.”
During the month of April, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is encouraging women and men to visit one of its seven health centers across the state for STD and HIV testing. In addition, PPLM’s campus organizing groups will mark the month with awareness raising events to highlight the importance of testing for people under age 25. Planned Parenthood provides nonjudgmental, affordable care no matter what. Planned Parenthood health centers are open to everyone, and offer low-cost STD testing throughout the year.
“Getting tested is easier than ever, with simple screening methods and fast results. At our health centers, you can get an HIV test and know your status before your visit is over,” said Walz. “Once you know your status, you can take action to stay healthy and protect yourself against future STDs. We want everyone — men, women, and young people — to lead the healthiest lives possible.”
During last year’s GYT campaign, Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide tested over 332,000 men and women and Planned Parenthood affiliates held nearly 300 events reaching over 14,000 people.
As part of the effort to create the healthiest generation ever, Planned Parenthood works every day to reduce the U.S.’s high rates of sexually transmitted diseases through education, testing, and treatment. Every year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider in the state. For over 80 years PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and freedom of choice through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.
The award-winning GYT campaign focuses on getting sexually active Americans under age 25 to embrace STD testing as part of a healthy, productive life. Launched in 2009 by a partnership between MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the CDC, it is supported by a broad range of organizations, state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and non-profits. GYT public service messages air throughout the year on MTV channels with cross promotions with health centers and community organizations. Extensive information resources, including a dedicated website (www.GYTnow.org), provide information about common STDs, talking tips, and a zip code locator to find local testing locations.
April 11, 2013