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Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Joins MTV, Kaiser Family Foundation, and the CDC to Urge Young People to GYT: Get Yourself Talking and Tested

DENVER - April 12, 2010 — In response to the staggering rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among youth in the United States, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is working with MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to kick off National STD Awareness month with the return of the award-winning campaign, GYT: Get Yourself Tested. 

As many as one in two sexually active young people will contract a STD by age 25 — and most won’t know it[1]. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state’s rate of reported chlamydia and gonorrhea significantly increased from 2003 to 2007, mirroring national trends. GYT encourages Americans under age 25 to talk with health care providers and partners about getting tested for STDs. According to the CDC, this age group represents half of the estimated 19 million cases of STDs occurring in the United States each year. When left untreated, STDs can lead to an increased risk of HIV infection, infertility, and cancer.

This year, PPRM will offer $10 STD testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea and $10 HIV testing on April 23 and 27.[2] The campaign officially kicks off on April 15 in Denver with a concert hosted by Planned Parenthood at 3 Kings Tavern featuring MileHi Sound, an electro rock band formed by professional snowboarders JJ Thomas and Jeff Cormack. Planned Parenthood will also mark the month by conducting outreach on college campuses and engaging people through its social networks.

In 2009, GYT helped fuel an increase in STD testing among of young people under the age of 25 at Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide, including a 36 percent increase in the number of male STD testing patients and an 18 percent increase in the number of female STD testing patients from the previous year in ten nationally representative Planned Parenthood health centers. These increases were particularly noteworthy in communities of color, with a 38 percent increase over 2008 in the number of African-American female STD testing patients and a 20 percent increase in the number of Latina STD testing patients.

“The doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood hear from young patients all the time that talking about getting tested is truly difficult but such a relief once they get talking,” said PPRM President and CEO Vicki Cowart. “We know that the GYT campaign works. In the first year of the campaign, PPRM health centers saw a ten-fold increase in testing compared to an average day – seeing nearly 1,500 people. We are committed to increasing the number of young people who get tested again this year. The good news is that testing for many STDs is simple, it doesn’t hurt, often does not even involve needles.”

Playing off mobile and Web slang in young people’s everyday vernacular, such as “OMG” and “LOL,” GYT is an easy way for young people to talk about sexual health and getting tested for STDs. This year, GYT is rolling out a series of new initiatives on-air, online, and on the ground at college campuses and in more than 4,000 health centers and clinics across the nation, including:

·         Celebs Talk GYT — In a series of on-air and online promotions, celebrities including Keri Hilson, Debi Nova, Emily VanCamp of Brothers and Sisters, Iyaz, and more join the campaign’s cast of all-star pop culture personalities spreading the GYT message far and wide.   

·         GYT NOW Campus Challenge — To spur a social movement for students to start talking and to get tested on college campuses around the country, the “GYT NOW Campus Challenge” calls on young people to commit to getting tested by becoming a fan of GYT, and encouraging their peers to do the same. The campus with the largest percentage of their student network to join the GYT Campus Challenge will be featured in an MTV News special and highlighted on mtvU. Additionally, MTV will award each of the top 10 recruiters on the winning campus with an expense-paid trip for two and backstage passes to the Too Fast for Love Tour with Cobra Starship, Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes and others.

·         GYT Nation — An extensive on-the-ground outreach effort is taking GYT to communities cross the country. GYT promotional materials, including T-shirts, posters, buttons, and stickers are being distributed to more than 4,000 health centers nationwide, including Planned Parenthood’s network of more than 840 health centers. The CDC is also working with state and local health departments, the American Social Health Association (ASHA) and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) to get out information about the campaign. And, the American College Health Association (ACHA) has joined the GYT campaign to spread the word and distribute GYT materials through college health centers.

The campaign’s website, GYTNOW.org, provides a community tool kit with promotional materials that can be customized and localized for easy distribution. In this online gallery, the audience can flex their creativity and make “GYT” their own by uploading personalized GYT designs. 

·                  www.GYTNOW.org — The central hub of the campaign, GYTNOW.org is a comprehensive information resource that includes facts about STDs; talking tips on how to discuss STD testing with partners, parents, and health care providers; and a testing location finder that connects users to local testing resources by simply entering a zip code. A wide range of GYT-based content, including all of the participating artists and celebrities, are also showcased on the site. Additionally, fans can connect to GYT via Facebook or Twitter

·                  GYTNOW short code and MTV Movie Awards Sweepstakes — A mobile companion to GYTNOW.org, the GYT short code (498669) provides details about local testing locations to mobile phones by simply texting a zip code. Users of the service during the month of April will become eligible to win a trip for two to the 2009 MTV Movie Awards in LA. Users can also enter the sweepstakes online by using the testing location finder at GYTNOW.org.

·                     MTV News — MTV News Correspondent Sway Calloway goes inside a New York City college to talk to students about STD testing. The segment explores who is getting tested, who is not, and the reasons why young people don’t get tested. Dr. Michelle Cespedes, a doctor of infectious diseases at NYU, and Dr. Michelle Callahan, a relationship expert and on-air personality, will weigh in on the importance of knowing your status and offer young people tips on talking about STD testing with partners and doctors. 

·                     mtvU Dean’s List — A freshman at the University of Hartford takes over as host for a new episode of mtvU’s Dean’s List. During this hour-long countdown of the music that’s making an impact on her campus, the audience will also follow as Kayla gets tested at a Planned Parenthood health center, dispels myths about STDs and testing, and talks to young people about why it’s important to GYT in college today.

·                     MTV’s “How To” Show — Iyaz and Debi Nova explore “how to talk to your partner about testing,” and “how to ask your doctor to be tested” in this short-form segment to live on GYTNOW.org. 

GYT is supported by a broad range of organizations including the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), American College Health Association (ACHA), ASHA (American Social Health Association) and various state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and nonprofits.

For more information visit www.GYTNOW.org.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 840 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is committed providing high quality reproductive health care, comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education, and political advocacy work.  More than 123,000 women, men, and young adults annually visit our 29 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming.  For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1.800.230.PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.

MTV is the dynamic, vibrant experiment at the intersection of music, creativity, and youth culture. For over 28 years, MTV has evolved, challenged the norm, and detonated boundaries -- giving each new generation a creative outlet and voice that entertains, informs, and unites on every platform and screen. On-air, MTV is the number one rated full-day ad-supported cable network for P12-24. Online, MTV.com averaged 24.6 million monthly unique visitors during the first quarter of 2010 -- up +9% from Q4/2009 and up +13% year-over-year. Average video streams for the first quarter of 2010 increased +19% from the Q4/2009 and is up +18% over the same time period last year. And MTV’s successful sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unprecedented customized content, super-serving young males, music fans, and college students like no one else. 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. Wanna know more? Come on in… www.mtvpress.com

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible information, research, and analysis on health issues.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations. For more information about CDC and its programs, visit http://www.cdc.gov.


Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Inc.


Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Monica McCafferty, 303-813-7732, [email protected]

MTV, Janice Gatti, 212-846-8852, [email protected]

The Kaiser Family Foundation, Susan Lamontagne, 631-899-3825, [email protected]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Scott Bryan, 404-639-8895, [email protected]


April 12, 2010


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