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National Campaign Encourages Young People to Get Tested for STDs, Including HIV
Ludacris, Vinny from The Jersey Shore, Travie McCoy, Teen Mom’s Catelynn and More Examine the “Top 10 Most Outrageous Sex Myths” in Special Airing on April 26th at 8:30 PM ET/PT
NEW YORK, NY, April 1, 2011 — The third annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign kicks-off National STD Awareness Month (April) with new initiatives on-air, online, on the ground at college campuses and in more than 5,000 health centers and clinics across the nation. As part of the 2011/2012 campaign, MTV will premiere a new half-hour special, “MTV’s Top 10 Most Outrageous Sex Myths” on Tuesday, April 26th at 8:30 pm ET/PT with the Jersey Shore’s Vinny Guadagnino, Ludacris, Teen Mom’s Catelynn and more counting down the most common myths about sex, including STDs. Additionally, Perez Hilton, Rap visionary Talib Kweli, America’s Best Dance Crew’s Jungle Boogie, professional skateboarder Stevie Williams, Bobby Hundreds and more join “Team GYT” to reinforce STD prevention and testing as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“At CDC, we are proud to be part of a campaign that’s making a difference in the health of young people,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., PhD., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “Because STDs often have no symptoms, using GYT resources to increase awareness, communicate about STDs, and get tested for STDs are some of the most important things that sexually active people can do now to ensure a healthy future.”
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 elements of this year’s campaign include:
“It’s been inspiring to watch our audience adopt GYT as a peer-to-peer call to action the last two years, helping to establish testing as a positive act on par with going to the gym, recycling or donating to a cause,” said Jason Rzepka, Vice President of MTV Public Affairs. “We feel privileged to sit at the nexus of public health leaders, pop culture players and America’s youth, and we’ll continue to galvanize all three to make taking control of your sexual health sexy.”
“Lack of awareness and also shame keep many young people from getting tested for STDs,” said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director, Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. “GYT is about making smart and healthy decisions that are part of everyday life.”
As many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25 — and most won’t know it¹. GYT encourages young people to talk with health care providers and partners about getting tested for STDs. According to the CDC, approximately half of the estimated 19 million STDs occurring in the United States each year are among people 25 and younger. When left untreated, STDs can lead to an increased risk of HIV infection, infertility and cancer.
Data collected from 10 participating Planned Parenthood health affiliates — representing 24 health centers — indicate that the campaign helped drive an increase in STD tests, with a 71 percent increase in patients getting tested in April 2010 as compared to the same time in 2008, prior to the launch of the campaign. GYT partners with more than 5,000 health centers across the nation, including those run by Planned Parenthood as well as other private and public clinics identified by the CDC. This data from a small subset of participating health centers offers encouraging evidence that GYT is helping mobilize young people to get tested.
“We are proud of the young people who want to stay healthy by knowing their STD and HIV/AIDS status,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “Through GYT, we have made progress in getting young people tested, but more work needs to be done. The STD rates among young people are alarmingly high and we must continue to deliver the message that getting tested is easy, painless and key to living a healthy life.”
GYT launched in 2009 as an extension of a longstanding public information partnership between MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation. It is supported by a broad range of organizations including the CDC, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), American College Health Association (ACHA), American Social Health Association (ASHA), the National Chlamydia Coalition (NCC), and various state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and non-profits. Gilead Sciences, Inc. provides support and resources for select elements of the campaign. 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. For more information visit www.GYTNOW.org.
MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV’s sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is the leading destination for music, news and pop culture. 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. For more information, go to 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.
¹http://www.ashastd.org/learn/learn_STDSTIstatistics.cfm, Cates JR, Herndon NL, Schulz S L, Darroch JE. (2004). Our voices, our lives, our futures: Youth and sexually transmitted diseases. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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