Monday, April 6, 2009
Get Yourself Tested!!
MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation have been partnered in a campaign called "It's Your (Sex) Life" since 1997, to encourage young adults to make responsible decisions about sexual health. Now, Planned Parenthood is joining the fight with the creation of a new campaign - Get Yourself Tested - GYT.The Department of Health and Human Services has designated April STD Awareness Month, so GYT will be working all month long to inform millions of young adults about HIV, other STDs, and related sexual health issues.
The idea of the campaign is to educate young people to the prevalence of STDs, and to encourage dialogue about routine testing. GYT can be used as an acronym in text or IM conversations and help eliminate taboos surrounding STDs. By normalizing these conversations and testing, we hope to slow the spread of STDs among youth. You may have heard this shocking statistic: By age 25, one in two people will have an STD. Furthermore, of the approximately 19 million new STDs contracted every year, most will go undiagnosed.
Misinformation, social stigma, and lack of symptoms stop people from getting tested regularly. Others believe STD tests are given as part of general health care and checkups. This isn't the case, but the tests are easier to obtain than ever. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can now be tested with urine-based tests, and the rapid HIV test only requires an oral swap, and can provide results in 20 minutes. As part of GYT, young adults ages 24 and younger qualify for free testing - All 97 Planned Parenthood affiliates are participating in GYT ’09.
As part of GYT, MTV will be showing programs related to STDs all month. On April 1st, they showed the world premiere of Pedro, the story of Pedro Zamora, a cast member of the Real World who died from AIDS-related complications in 1994. You missed the premiere, but you can watch it online for the next 2 weeks here!
A ton of pop-culture personalities will be appearing in a series of promotions and PSAs on MTV and online, wearing "GYT" on their chests, and getting tested for STDs. You can get involved on Facebook, and even Twitter! Also, you can text your zipcode to the GYT mobile companion, #49809 to see your nearest testing location!
Be sure to check out the GYT09 website for further information and some cool videos and programs. And be sure to go out and get tested!