By Srijan Sen
Throughout the month of April, Planned Parenthood will be providing free STD testing as a part of their ‘Get Yourself Tested’ campaign.
Primarily geared towards youth and raising awareness about sexually transmitted diseases, this national campaign is designed to promote sexual health and address the disproportionately high rates of STDs — including HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
According to the national health care provider, one in two sexually active young people are prone to some kind of STD, most of which are curable when detected at an early stage.
Half of the estimated 20 million sexually transmitted diseases contracted each year occur among the under-25 age group, although they only represent one quarter of the sexually active population.
The GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign is a social movement in partnership with the American College Health Association, Kaiser Family Foundation, National Coalition of STD Directors, MTV, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Technical consultation for the program is provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to free testing during April, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is planning a variety of outreach activities to raise awareness about being safe, responsible and healthy. Planned Parenthood health centers also offer low-cost STD testing throughout the year as well as breast and cervical cancer screens, wellness exams, birth control, education, health counseling, and referrals.
“Getting tested shows you care about yourself and your partner,” said Meg Robertson, Director of Clinical Services and Nurse Practitioner.
“Many STDs cause no symptoms, so the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested.”
Launched in April 2009 as an ongoing promotion under It’s Your (Sex) Life, the GYT campaign has made significant progress over the years.
A 2014 study in the American Journal of the Sexually Transmitted Diseases finds evidence suggesting the GYT campaign successfully increased STD testing among youth during STD Awareness Month.
Planned Parenthood encourages testing for 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.
The ultimate goal of Planned Parenthood is to provide sustained effort to nurture the healthiest generation ever.
Trained physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals provide high-quality, affordable, and safe healthcare to more than 60,000 people each year through education, testing, treatment and prevention.
People interested in preventing the transmission of HPV – the most commonly transmitted STD – and reproductive cancers can also get the HPV vaccine, regardless of gender.
“Tests are easy, noninvasive, and they’re one of the most important things you can do to protect your health,” said Robertson.