MTV, Kaiser Family Foundation, CDC, Planned Parenthood and Others Urge young People to GYT: Get Yourself Talking and Tested
Keri Hilson, Perez Hilton, Debi Nova, Emily VanCamp, Iyaz & More Help Carry the GYT Message
New York, NY — In response to the staggering rate of sexually transmitted infections (STDs) among youth in the U.S., MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation, as part of a longstanding public information partnership, are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its network of health centers, and other partners nationwide, to kick-off National STD Awareness month with the return of the award-winning campaign, GYT: Get Yourself Tested.
As many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25 — and most won’t know it . GYT encourages Americans under age 25 to talk with health care providers and partners about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to the CDC, this age group represents half of the estimated 19 million STDs occurring in the United States each year. When left untreated, STDs can lead to an increased risk of HIV infection, infertility and cancer.
“The burden of STDs on young people in the United States is far too high, and it is urgent that we reach them with testing and treatment information to protect themselves from the long-term health effects of these infections,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., PhD., director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “A lack of information, misconceptions and social stigma keep many people from getting tested. Others mistakenly think they have been tested as part of routine health care. Since many STDs have no symptoms, most of those who are infected do not know it. The only way to know for sure is to be tested.”
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. This year, GYT is rolling out a series of new initiatives on-air, online, on the ground at college campuses and in more than 4,000 health centers and clinics across the nation, including:
The campaign’s website, GYTNOW.org, provides a community toolkit with promotional materials that can be customized and localized for easy distribution. In this online gallery, the audience can flex their creativity and make “GYT” their own by uploading personalized GYT designs.
“We’re committed to partnering with our audience to reverse the course of the rising national youth STD trend,” said Stephen Friedman, General Manager of MTV. “GYT connects with young people everywhere they are, and prompts them to take control of their sexual health — arming them with tools that make it easier to talk openly about testing and take action to know their status.”
Once again, GYT will be woven throughout MTV programming, making appearances in popular shows, music videos and more. CDC provided assistance to ensure scientific accuracy of GYT health information. Comprehensive informational resources — designed for web and mobile applications — provide facts and referrals to local health centers. Additional campaign elements include:
Online & Mobile:
“We have found that entertainment media partnerships can be a powerful force for change,” said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director of Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. “By working with this coalition of partners with common goal and on a targeted message, we hope to reduce the spread of STDs among young people by normalizing communication and testing.”
In 2009, GYT helped fuel an increase in STD testing among of young people under the age of 25 at Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide, including a 36 percent increase in the number of male STD testing patients and an 18 percent increase in the number of female STD testing patients from the previous year in ten nationally representative Planned Parenthood health centers. These increases were particularly noteworthy in communities of color, with a 30 percent increase over 2008 in the number of African-American female STD testing patients and a 20 percent increase in the number of Latina STD testing patients.
“Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses understand that if a young person is going to decide to get tested, barriers to communication need to be overcome and common myths must be dispelled. The good news is that testing for many STDs is fast and painless, and, contrary to the fears of some young people, does not involve needles,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards. “We know that the GYT campaign works. In the first year of the campaign, Planned Parenthood health centers saw an increase in testing, and we are committed to increasing the number of young people who get tested again this year.”
GYT is supported by a broad range of organizations including the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), American College Health Association (ACHA), ASHA (American Social Health Association), the National Chlamydia Coalition (NCC), and various state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and non-profits.
An ongoing extension of MTV and Kaiser’s Emmy and Peabody-winning “It’s Your (Sex) Life” partnership, GYT encourages young people to make responsible decisions about their sexual health. Since 1997, the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV have worked together on this extensive public information partnership to address HIV/AIDs, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and related sexual health issues. The partnership includes targeted public service advertisements (PSAs), entertainment and other special programming, news segments, and free resources, including an informational guide developed especially for the campaign, and an extensive website www.itsyoursexlife.com. For more information visit http://www.GYTNOW.org.
MTV is the dynamic, vibrant experiment at the intersection of music, creativity and youth culture. For over 28 years, MTV has evolved, challenged the norm, and detonated boundaries — giving each new generation a creative outlet and voice that entertains, informs and unites on every platform and screen. On-air, MTV is the number one rated full-day ad-supported cable network for P12-24. Online, MTV.com averaged 24.6 million monthly unique visitors during the first quarter of 2010 — up +9% from Q4/2009 and up +13% year-over-year. Average video streams for the first quarter of 2010 increased +19% from the Q4/2009 and is up +18% over the same time period last year. And MTV’s successful sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unprecedented customized content, super-serving young males, music fans, and college students like no one else. 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. Wanna know more? Come on in: http://www.mtvpress.com
The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, dedicated to producing and communicating the best possible information, research and analysis on health issues.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 840 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations. For more information about CDC and its programs, visit http://www.cdc.gov.