In today’s society, uttering the phrase, “I have an STD,” could be one of the most embarrassing statements you could make. Why? Because it is so easy and simple to prevent a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Thanks to modern medicine, STDs may not be the health risk that they once were, but left untreated, an STD can still change your life and the lives of your sexual partners forever.
There is no reason to be ashamed of being sexually active, as long as you are responsible. Just like condom use, STD screenings should be a regular part of a sexually active person’s health routine.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Get Yourself Talking, Get Yourself Tested campaign, in conjunction with National STD Awareness Month. The GYT campaign runs throughout the month of April and was developed as a part of, “It’s Your Sex Life,” a public information partnership of MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Planned Parenthood.
One in two young people will get an STD by the age of 25, so the GYT campaign targets those who are most susceptible to acquiring an STD: young adults, ages 25 and under. GYT strives to empower youth through a social movement to reduce the spread of STDs through information, open communication, testing and treatment.
The most common symptom for an STD is NO SYMPTOM AT ALL, which is a terrifying fact and an explanation for such alarming statistics. It is also the main reason why STD testing is so vital.
Another fact: There are 20 million diagnosed STDs each year, people who are under 25 account for half of those, even though they only represent one-quarter of the sexually active population. The CDC also revealed that if you have a sexually transmitted disease, you are more likely to get HIV and to spread HIV to your sex partner(s).
I think you get it. The increase of STDs in this age group may not come as a surprise, as most college students are in the age range of 18 to 25 years-old and usually indulge in more sexual experimentation. However, these statistics don’t have to be an ongoing trend.
During the month of April, sexually active young adults should take the opportunity to talk to their partners about testing and have safe sex. They should also get tested if they haven’t before. In April, testing is available at a discounted price at Planned Parenthood health centers, Maricopa County STD Clinic and other health care providers. For more information on testing locations please visit: www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt.
Tory Stangl is a marketing and communications intern for Planned Parenthood Arizona