Get Yourself Tested campaign under way

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The fourth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign is under way with the April observance of National STD Awareness Month.

The GYT campaign involves initiatives on air, online and on the ground at college campuses and in more than 5,000 health centers across the nation.

The primary forces behind GYT are MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation and their focus is on addressing high rates of STDs among people aged 25 and under.

The campaign has the support of a range of organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“MTV has made a sustained commitment to challenging the stigma that prevents countless young people from getting tested for STDs and HIV,” said Jason Rzepka, VP for MTV’s public affairs. “We’re proud that GYT has helped drive notable increases in STD testing, but there’s no finish line in this race, and we will continue to do all we can to help our audience make responsible decisions about their sexual health.”

According to the CDC, people age 15-24 represent nearly half of all new STDs occurring in the United States but represent just 25 percent of the population.

Rates of chlamydia, a preventable and treatable STD, are particularly high. Chlamydia often has no symptoms, and when left undiagnosed and untreated can cause serious health consequences, including infertility in women.  As a result, CDC recommends annual screening for all sexually active women aged 25 and younger.

“We’re proud to be a part of GYT because of the positive difference it has made on the lives of so many young Americans,” said Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention. “The facts are clear – STDs are common, and the life-long impact of an untreated STD is real. But, these don’t have to be accepted parts of life. GYT provides the tools young people need to be proactive about their health.”

For information about GYT and getting tested, go to the campaign website.

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