Raleigh, NC April 2, 2013 — The fifth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign kicks off in April (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 STIs among those under 25. 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.
“Getting tested is simply a basic part of staying healthy and taking control of your sex life. Many STIs cause no symptoms, so the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested,” said Melissa Reed, VP of Public Affairs. “We know that when not treated, STIs can increase the risk of infertility and cervical cancer — but that virtually all STIs, 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 Health Systems will continue to offer low-cost STI testing and their doors are open to everyone.
“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 Klausmeier. “Once you know your status, you can take action to stay healthy and protect yourself against future STIs. 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 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.
The award-winning GYT campaign focuses on getting sexually active Americans under age 25 to embrace STI 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 STIs, talking tips, and a zip code locator to find local testing locations.
Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. is an essential community provider in North Carolina. Each year, at six health centers across the state, they provide over 4399 tests for sexually transmitted infections, over 3899 life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings and 16,636 contraceptive visits to more than 14,978 men and women.