City and County of Denver declares April to be known as “Get Yourself Tested Month”
DENVER – To help reduce the alarming rate of sexually transmitted diseases among young people in the U.S., Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is joining with the Mayor of Denver, MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage youth to GYT — Get Yourself Tested — during National STD Awareness Month in April.
PPRM is proud to announce that the City and County of Denver is proclaiming April to be known as “Get Yourself Tested Month.”
One of two sexually active young people will get a STD by age 25—and most won’t know it. Additionally, 1 in 5 Americans living with HIV doesn't know it. The CDC recommends everyone get tested for HIV/AIDS each year as a matter of routine health care. When left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection, infertility, and cancer.
In 2010, a total of 1,307,893 cases of sexually transmitted chlamydia were reported to the CDC. This is the largest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any condition. In the same report1, Denver is ranked 15th among major cities for chlamydia infections and 34th among major cities for gonorrhea infections.
The good news is that through testing many STDs can be treated.
“The GYT campaign is a youthful, empowering social movement to reduce the spread of STDs among young people through information, open communication with partners, health care providers, and parents, and testing and treatment as needed,” said Amy Dickson, vice president of clinical operations for PPRM.
This year, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains will offer $10 STD testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia and $10 Rapid HIV testing at most of its health centers on April 24 and 27. Alternative testing dates will be made available at certain locations to accommodate hours of operation.
“STDs often have no symptoms; so many people who are infected don't know it. Getting tested is simply a basic part of staying healthy,” said Dickson. “Lack of information, misconceptions, and social stigma keep many young people from getting tested for STDs, but people should know that testing is easier than ever before. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as little as 10 minutes from a simple finger prick.”
Additionally, GYT will officially kickoff in Denver on April 19 with a concert hosted by Planned Parenthood at 3 Kings Tavern featuring local bands. Planned Parenthood will also mark the month by conducting outreach on college campuses and engaging people through its social networks.
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), which provides basic information about common STDs, talking tips, and a zip code locator to find local testing locations — as well as a mobile testing locator, GYTNOW (498669) — provide the audience with more information. During April, the campaign scales up its presence by introducing new messaging and outreach. Some elements of this year’s national GYT campaign include:
- “Team GYT” — “Team GYT” is made up of celebrities recognizable to the GYT audience who help carry the GYT message. Coming from an array of backgrounds, these celebrities are handpicked to offer a sense of inspiration and personal empowerment. This year, Team GYT is pleased to welcome Litefoot, a Native American rap artist, actor and entrepreneur. Litefoot, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, also operates the "Reach the Rez Tour," an outreach program that promotes positive change among American Indian youth. Litefoot joins the ranks of the existing members of Team GYT including: The Jersey Shore’s Vinny, rap visionary Talib Kweli, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton, America’s Best Dance Crew’s Jungle Boogie, professional street skateboarder Stevie Williams, head of Thehundreds.com Bobby Hundreds, Paper Twins’ artists Nica and Edgar A. English, aspiring fashion-conscious entrepreneur Allie Bashuk, surf-loving San Franpsycho, San Francisco designer/painter/artist Ube Urban, Levi Maestro of the online show Maestro Knows, Buff Monster, designer Han Cholo, and DJ A-Trak. Team GYT will continue to grow throughout the year as new faces are added to the campaign. All will carry the GYT brand out into various aspects of youth culture, encouraging their fans and followers to know their status.
- GYT “Party” — GYT has created a new online interactive video experience to encourage conversations about STDs and testing with partners, peers, and health care providers. The video, a simulated party scene, includes five conversations among couples, peers and friends about STDs and testing and is found at http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/talk/party. The GYT Party is filled with talking tips, an interactive quiz, key information for starting a conversation and entertaining “extra” features.
- GYT Nation — GYT is also supported by an extensive on-the-ground outreach effort taking GYT to communities across the country. GYT promotional and informational materials, including T-shirts, posters, buttons, brochures and stickers are being distributed to more than 5,000 health centers and organizations nationwide, including Planned Parenthood’s network of nearly 800 health centers and additional public and private clinics identified by the CDC. GYT is also working with state and local health departments, the National Coalition of STD Directors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and the National Assembly of School-Based Health Centers to provide young people with information about the campaign. And, the American College Health Association (ACHA) works with GYT to distribute materials through college health centers.
For more information on GYT or to make an appointment to Get Yourself Tested visit: www.pprm.org
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains empowers individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health by providing high quality health services, comprehensive sex education, and strategic advocacy. More than 123,000 women, men, and young adults annually visit our 28 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming. Since 1916, we have been the region’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care. 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.
April 10, 2012