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Sixth Annual GYT Campaign Encourages Young People To "Get Yourself Tested" Beginning April 1

National "GYT: Get Yourself Tested" Campaign Successfully Reaching Youth to Increase STD Awareness and Testing, According to New Study

April 01, 2014 --

NEW YORK, April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The sixth annual national GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign will kick off on Tuesday, April 1, in honor of National STD Awareness Month, with on-air, online, and on-the-ground activities across the country. GYT is designed to promote sexual health and address the disproportionately high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea among those under 25. Research now suggests the campaign successfully increased STD testing in this age group, including a 71 percent increase in testing at Planned Parenthood affiliates from 2008 to 2010. The campaign is a collaborative effort of the American College Health Association (ACHA), the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), MTV, National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), with technical consultation provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Young people under age 25 account for half of the estimated 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases each year, although they represent only one-quarter of the sexually active population. In fact, one in two sexually active people in the U.S. will contract an STD by the time they're 25 and many will not know it.

In order to continue raising awareness this year, GYT is rolling out a series of initiatives across all platforms, including:


  • Community health centers, youth groups, and college campuses will hold STD testing outreach and education events across the country throughout the month of April.
  • Planned Parenthood has organized more than 200 youth, education, and outreach events for the month.
  • A series of GYT public messages will run on MTV, pointing young people to information and resources on STD testing and prevention.
  • Social media and online properties will share GYT messages aimed at increasing awareness of STDs among young people and linking them to testing services.

"Getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health and it's easier than ever before," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "At Planned Parenthood, we know that affordable testing and treatment, along with education, are the best ways to ensure that young people stay healthy and safe. We're proud to be part of the GYT effort."

The GYT campaign's efforts to promote discussion and testing of STDs among young people appear to be having an impact. A new study published in the March 2014 issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the official journal of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association, suggests that the GYT campaign has successfully increased STD testing among youth during STD Awareness Month. Findings from the study include:

  • From 2009 to 2010, the number of reported youth reached by GYT events doubled.
  • From 2008 to 2010, there was a 71 percent increase in STD testing at reporting Planned Parenthood affiliates.
  • Increases were most notable among populations most at risk, including youth, African Americans, Latinos, and people living at or under the poverty line.

"Nearly all STDs, including HIV, are treatable and many are curable," said Tina Hoff, senior vice president and director of the Kaiser Family Foundation'sHealth Communication & Media Partnerships Program. "The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get treated and avoid serious health risks. Through a combination of on-air, online, and on-the-ground messages, GYT is working to increase knowledge and remove the stigma of STD testing among young people."

"MTV has made a sustained commitment to challenging the stigma that prevents countless young people from getting tested for STDs and HIV," said Jason Rzepka, senior vice president of Public Affairs at MTV. "We're proud that GYT has helped drive notable increases in STD testing, but there's no finish line in this race, and we will continue to do all we can to help our audience make responsible decisions about their sexual health."

"We know that young people are a key population for STD prevention and that they often face unique challenges for STD testing and treatment," stated William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. "That is why the National Coalition of STD Directors, on behalf of its member STD health department programs across the country, is pleased to be involved in GYT: to ensure that young people get tested and treated for STDs."

"Sexual and reproductive health are a high priority for college health professionals. One important aspect of being a healthy college student is being able to prevent STDs on college campuses," said Pat Ketcham, president of the American College Health Association. "The Get Yourself Tested Campaign is a valuable social marketing campaign designed to promote and can improve access to testing and is an important catalyst to improve health care access."

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 many 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 (KFF), 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).

About American College Health Association:

The American College Health Association will provide advocacy, education, communications, products, and services, as well as promote research and culturally competent practices to enhance its members' ability to advance the health of all students and the campus community.

About Kaiser Family Foundation:

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted, independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. The Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California.

About MTV:

MTV is the world's premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy, Grammy and Peabody award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV's sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is the leading destination for music, news and pop culture. 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. For more information, go to www.mtvpress.com.

About Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

About The National Coalition of STD Directors:

The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) is a partnership of public health professionals dedicated to promoting sexual health through the prevention of STDs. NCSD provides dynamic leadership that strengthens STD Programs by advocating for effective policies, strategies, and sufficient resources by increasing awareness of the medical and social impacts of STDs. For more information, visit www.NCSDDC.org.

SOURCE GYT: Get Yourself Tested

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