Fact: At least one in four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Fact: By age 25, half of all sexually active young people will get an STD.
Fact: In the United States 19 million new cases of STDs occur every year.
Fact: Many people with STDs don’t even know they have one because there are often no symptoms.
Fact: San Diego County has some of the highest STD rates in California.
Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is a good idea any time, but a partnership of health advocates, led by MTV and Planned Parenthood, is urging people to get tested during April, STD Awareness Month. A nationwide campaign that includes the Centers for Disease Control and the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Get Yourself Tested (GYT) now campaign is designed to educate people about the importance of being tested – and demystify the experience.
“Getting tested for STDs is not only a smart thing to do, it’s easy,” said Katharine Sheehan, M.D., Medical Director at Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties. “Most of our patients qualify for free services, so there’s absolutely no reason not to get tested.” Sheehan says some STDs, if left untreated, can have serious health consequences such as infertility, cervical cancer and even death. “Planned Parenthood offers low and no-cost testing and treatment, but we also help people prevent STDs through condom use and education.”
Planned Parenthood will be highlighted in April’s episode of the MTV series Dean’s List. This GYT edition will feature Planned Parenthood intern, Kayla, on her college campus in Connecticut talking about the importance of getting tested and her work with Planned Parenthood. She will also get tested on screen.
“We want people to see firsthand how easy it is to get tested,” said Lori Keim, Senior Director of Clinic Services for Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties. “I think a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised to see that it’s really no big deal. Getting tested is a simple urine sample to screen for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea or a quick finger stick for HIV testing. You don’t need an exam. You don’t even need to get undressed. If something is easy, inexpensive – maybe even free – and could possibly save your life; what possible reason is there not to do it?”
To make an appointment call 1-888-743- PLAN (7526) or visit www.planned.org