Planned Parenthood of North Florida Works to Keep Young People Healthy During STD Awareness Month | Health

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Planned Parenthood of North Florida Works to Keep Young People Healthy During STD Awareness Month
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Planned Parenthood of North Florida Works to Keep Young People Healthy During STD Awareness Month

To help reduce the alarming rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young people in the U.S., Planned Parenthood of North Florida is joining with MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage youth to GYT — Get Yourself Tested — during National STD Awareness Month in April. 

As many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25 — and most won’t know it[1].  In Duval County there were 2,200 reported cases of STDs among 15-19 year olds in 2009 according to the Florida Department of Health. The award-winning GYT campaign is focusing this year on getting sexually active Americans under age 25 to embrace STD testing as part of a healthy, productive life. According to the CDC, this age group represents half of the estimated 19 million sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year. When left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection, infertility and cancer.

This year, Planned Parenthood of North Florida will offer a special GYT package that includes testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and a rapid HIV test for $85.00.

Data collected from 10 Planned Parenthood affiliates show that STD testing has increased sharply since the launch of GYT in 2008. From 2008 to 2010, the number of patients tested in those 10 affiliates’ two dozen health centers rose by an average of 71–72 percent among women and 65 percent among men. Nationally, Planned Parenthood has achieved especially large increases in the populations most affected by STDs, including African Americans and people living at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. While GYT’s impact can’t be measured precisely, the evidence to date suggests that the campaign is motivating young people to get out and get tested.

“Duval County has one of the highest rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections among 15-19 years old in the state of Florida, there were 2,200 new cases reported in 2009. That’s why Planned Parenthood of North Florida is joining forces with MTV, the CDC and the Kaiser Family Foundation to encourage our youth to “GYT - Get Yourself Tested” at our clinics in April.” commented Planned Parenthood of North Florida CEO Staci Fox. Fox continued “Young people can come to any of our health centers and receive confidential and non-judgmental health care and education about STIs.”

Playing off mobile and web slang in young people’s everyday vernacular, such as “OMG” and “LOL,” GYT is an easy way for young people to talk about sexual health and getting tested for STDs. Some other elements of this year’s campaign include:

  • “MTV’s Top 10 Most Outrageous Sex Myths” — GYT sets the record straight on many of the most common myths about STDs and other sexual health issues in a countdown show featuring artists such as Ludacris and Travie McCoy, as well as talent from MTV shows, including Vinny from the Jersey Shore, Catelynn from Teen Mom, Kailyn from Teen Mom 2, Kevin Manno, host of the The Seven, 10 on Top host Lenay Dunn, and more. Additionally, sexual health and relationship expert Dr. Logan Levkoff will weigh in on the special.
  • “Team GYT” — Rap visionary Talib Kweli, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton, America’s Best Dance Crew’s Jungle Boogie, professional street skateboarder Stevie Williams, head of Thehundreds.com Bobby Hundreds, Paper Twins’ artists Nica and Edgar A. English, aspiring fashion-conscious entrepreneur Allie Bashuk, surf-loving San Franpsycho, San Francisco designer/painter/artist Ube Urban, Levi Maestro of the online show Maestro Knows, Buff Monster, designer Han Cholo, and DJ A-Trak are joining forces to carry the GYT message. “Team GYT” will appear in GYT TV spots, guest blog on ACT.MTV.com, and reinforce STD prevention and testing as part of healthy lifestyle.
  • GYT on Tour — GYT partners with the “Take Action Tour” to bring the campaign to 50 cities nationwide starting April 22 in Boston, MA. Each city will host a concert with headliners Silverstein and Bayside, and Polar Bear Club, The Swellers, and Texas in July supporting. All proceeds from the tour, organized by Hopeless Records’ nonprofit organization Sub City, will go to SEX, ETC, a program of Rutgers University. Additionally, at select locations, GYT and Planned Parenthood will partner with local organizations to offer free or low-cost testing to concert attendees.
  • GYT PSAs — a new series of TV spots will roll out on several MTV channels encouraging viewers to GYT and drive to online and mobile resources for more information, including local testing services. View the PSAs at GYTNOW.org.
  • www.GYTNOW.org — The informational hub of the campaign, GYTNOW.org provides basic facts about STDs, including prevention and testing, talking tips for discussing STD testing with partners, parents and health care providers, and a testing center locator. The site also hosts an online community tool kit with promotional materials that can be customized and localized to help spread the GYT message. In this online gallery, the audience can flex their creativity and make “GYT” their own by uploading personalized GYT designs. Beyond the wide range of GYT-based content available on the site, fans can also connect to GYT via Facebook or Twitter.
  • GYTNOW short code and MTV Movie Awards Sweepstakes — A mobile companion to GYTNOW.org, the GYT short code (498669) provides details about local testing locations to mobile phones by simply texting a zip code. Online, users can become eligible to win a trip for two to the 2011 MTV Movie Awards by entering their zip code in the testing location finder at GYTNOW.org during the month of April.
  • GYT Nation — An extensive on-the-ground outreach effort is taking GYT to communities across the country. GYT promotional materials, including T-shirts, posters, buttons, brochures, and stickers are being distributed to more than 5,000 health centers and organizations nationwide, including Planned Parenthood’s network of more than 800 health centers.     

GYT is supported by a broad range of organizations including the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), American College Health Association (ACHA), American Social Health Association (ASHA), and various state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and nonprofits.

For more information visit www.GYTNOW.org.  

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