In honor of national STD Awareness Month Planned Parenthood and MTV are once again teaming up for the GYT (Get Yourself Tested) campaign.
GYT was launched in 2009 by Planned Parenthood, MTV, the Center for Disease Control, and the Kaiser Family Foundation in response to the growing rates of STDs in American youth. About half of sexually active people will get an STD by age 25, according to the CDC. Nationally, one in four teenage girls has an STD. And in Arizona, young adults ages 15-24 are diagnosed with more STDs every year than any other age group.
GYT also focuses on preventing STDs through safe sex. Teens can find side-by-side charts comparing the benefits and disadvantages of different types of birth control, including side effects, success rates in preventing pregnancy, and ability to protect from STDs.
The GYT website also has suggestions on how to bring up getting tested with your partner. Pick a location where you both feel safe and comfortable. Start positive, and be open to what they have to say. Above all, be direct. Your partner can’t know what you’re thinking unless you tell them.
GYT serves to make getting tested an empowering experience, rather than a shameful one. Getting yourself tested is a responsible, mature decision and not something to be embarrassed about. It protects you and your partner. Most STDs that are caught early are treatable and curable. The most common STD symptom is no symptom, which is why getting tested is so important.
Through open communication with partners and honest information from health care providers, teens and young adults can get the resources they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health.
Check out the GYT website, where you can find local testing centers, learn the facts about safe sex, and get more advice on how to bring up the issue with a partner.