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“Get Yourself Tested” — New Data Shows 20 Million STDs Occur Each Year

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri Joins MTV, the CDC, and the Kaiser Family Foundation in Campaign

St. Louis, MO — The Fifth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign kicks off this month (National STD Awareness Month) with online and on-the-ground initiatives across the country.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that sexually transmitted infections 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 among the under 25 age group — even though they represent only 25 percent of the sexually experienced population.

GYT is a national campaign designed to promote sexual health and address the high rates of STDs among those under 25.

“Getting tested is one of the first essential steps to staying healthy and taking control of your reproductive health. Many sexually transmitted diseases cause no symptoms, and the only way to know your status is to get tested,” said Paula Gianino, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. “We know when left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of infertility and cervical cancer. The good news is most STD’s – including HIV – are treatable and many are curable.”

During the month of April, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri will offer extensive savings on STD testing and emergency contraception (morning after pill). Walk in patients are welcome. Appointments to any of the 8 testing locations can be made by calling 1-800-230-PLAN or visiting www.plannedparenthood.org/stlouis for more information.

“Getting tested is easier than ever before. For example, rapid HIV tests can provide results in as fast as 20 minutes from just a swab inside the mouth,” said Mary Kogut, Vice President of Patient Services. “Once you know your status, you can take action to stay healthy and protect yourself against future STD’s. We want everyone —women, men, and teens — to lead the healthiest lives possible.”

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 infections through education, testing, and treatment. Every year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.