| “Get Yourself Tested” — New Data Shows 20 Million STIs Occur Each Year
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (PPSWCF) Joins MTV, the CDC, and the Kaiser Family Foundation in Campaign
Sarasota, FL — 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 Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran. “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.”
On April 30th, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida will offer free chlamydia, gonorrhea, $20 rapid HIV tests and free regular HIV tests. In addition, PPSWCF will mark the month with community education events at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers; Eckerd College in St. Petersburg; and New College of Florida in Sarasota in collaboration with our college youth chapters, known as “VOX.” Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida health centers offer low-cost STI testing throughout the year, and our 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 Dr. Prabhakaran. “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 of Southwest and Central Florida, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, began operations in 1966 and provides vital sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education to women, men and teens in Sarasota, Manatee, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Lakeland and Winter Haven. The mission of Planned Parenthood is to ensure the right of all individuals to manage their sexual and reproductive health by providing medical services, education and advocacy. Go to www.myplannedparenthood.org for information or call (941) 365.3913.