PPWI Offers Free STD Testing in April
One in two sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the time they’re 25 – and most won’t know it. In an effort to enhance health and raise awareness around STD prevention, PPWI is participating in the seventh annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign in April (STD Awareness Month) in collaboration with MTV, American College Health Association (ACHA), the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, with technical consultation provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
GYT is a national campaign designed to promote sexual health and address the disproportionately high rates of STDs — including HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea — among young people. Throughout the month of April, PPWI will offer FREE STD testing, regardless of gender, in all family planning health centers.
Half of the estimated 20 million sexually transmitted diseases contracted each year occur among the under-25 age group, although they only represent one quarter of the sexually active population.
“Getting tested shows you care about yourself and your partner. Many STDs cause no symptoms, so the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested,” said Meg Robertson, Director of Clinical Services and Nurse Practitioner. “We know that when not treated, STDs can increase the risk of infertility and cervical cancer, but virtually all STDs, including HIV, are treatable and many are curable. The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get treated,”
In addition to free testing during April, PPWI will mark the month with a variety of outreach activities to raise awareness about being safe, healthy, and responsible to avoid STDs and unintended pregnancies. Planned Parenthood health centers offer low-cost STD testing throughout the year as well as breast and cervical cancer screens, wellness exams, birth control, education, health counseling, and referrals.
“Tests are easy, non-invasive, and they’re one of the most important things you can do to protect your health,” said Robertson.
As part of the effort to create the healthiest generation ever, Planned Parenthood works every day to reduce the rates of sexually transmitted diseases through education, testing, treatment and prevention. People interested in preventing the transmission of HPV – the most commonly transmitted STD – and reproductive cancers can also get the HPV vaccine, regardless of gender, at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood’s highly trained physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals provide high-quality, affordable, and safe health care to more than 60,000 people each year.
Individuals can find a Planned Parenthood health center or get more information by visiting PPWI.org or text “safersex” to 69866.
Background Information about GYT
Responding to the fact that young people account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occurring in the U.S. each year — and most don’t know they are infected — the GYT campaign is a youthful, empowering social movement to encourage young people to get tested and treated, as needed, for STDs, including HIV. GYT increases awareness about STDs and how to prevent them; links young people to STD testing services; and promotes a more open dialogue with partners and health care providers.
GYT encourages testing for STDs, including HIV, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and empowers young people to have an open dialogue about STDs.
GYT was launched in April 2009 as an ongoing promotion under It’s Your (Sex) Life, a longstanding public information partnership of MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Supporting partners of GYT include: American College Health Association (ACHA), Kaiser Family Foundation, National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), MTV and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Technical consultation is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The GYT campaign’s efforts to promote discussion and testing of STDs among young people are making a difference. A new study published in the March 2014 issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases found evidence that suggests that the GYT campaign has successfully increased STD testing among youth during STD Awareness Month.