One in two young adults will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the time they turn 25. More young adults will get an STD than a college degree, and almost three times as many will get an STD than voted in the last election. More Americans will have an STD, by the time they are 25, than will be diagnosed with cancer, ever. So why does the mainstream media rarely cover this STD epidemic?
This social stigma and lack of knowledge is something that MTV is trying to disperse. For the third year in a row Viacom (the owners of MTV) teamed up with Planned Parenthood, the Centers for Disease Control, and The Kaiser Family Foundation to create and promote the GYT campaign. Their goal is to destigmatize getting tested while promoting education using the GYT slogan of “Get yourself talking, get yourself tested.” Quick story about the first part before I get into the details about the campaign and getting tested:
On my way back from Planned Parenthood’s National Young Leaders Summit and the Rally for Women’s Health in Washington DC, I was wearing my brand new green (I was psyched because all my other Planned Parenthood shirts are pink) GYT shirt. The TSA screeners noticed the huge G-Y-T on it and asked what it meant. I still had over an hour until my flight, so I stopped and explained that one in two young adults will get an STD by age 25 and that most will not know it. We continued to talk for another few minutes about how quick and easy it is to get tested for an STD. When I left, they were still talking about why getting tested was the right thing to do. Successfully got those 3 people talking.
Another part of GYT is education, and helping clear up some common misconceptions. Being a high school student myself I get to hear, and correct, all the rumors about sex and STD’s. Some of the scariest ones I’ve heard include: gonorrhea can be treated with bleach (it can’t), drinking certain sodas will stop you from getting pregnant (no, absolutely not), and that if a guy “pulls out” you can’t get pregnant (semen can travel at speeds of 28mph, that’s fast). GYT is all about squashing these myths. You can even see a side by side comparison of different methods of birth control, along with what works and what doesn’t. To help disprove these myths, GYT teamed up with cultural icons like blogger Perez Hilton, rappers Iyaz, and Soulja Boy, and other celebrities to get the GYT message out and tell young people to just listen to their pee.
So maybe you didn’t get to talking in time, and believed one of those myths. That’s where the rest of GYT comes in. Get yourself tested. Most STD’s show little or no symptoms, so it’s hard to tell if you or your partner has one unless you get tested. Getting tested can be a pretty scary scenario to think about, but in reality getting tested is safe, easy, and confidential. You can find your nearest testing location by texting you zip code to 498669, or head over to GYTnow.org and enter your zip code at the bottom of the page. Most major insurance carriers will cover STD testing for little to no cost. If you’re uninsured, talk to your local clinic because they can usually offer low or no cost testing. Pretty much there’s no reason not to get tested.
Every single STD is treatable, and most are curable. One in two Americans will have an STD by the time they are 25. This is a growing epidemic that we, as a nation, can and need to be stop. The only way to stop it is to go out and get tested, so what are you waiting for! Learn the facts, and GYT.