GYT - Get Yourself Tested - at Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio's Free Testing Fridays, Open House

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PPNEO Marking STD Awareness Month with Free Testing Fridays, Open House. Planned Parenthood, MTV, Kaiser Family Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Promoting Testing for Young People To Reduce Alarming Rates of STD Infections

Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio (PPNEO) is participating in the third annual award-winning nationwide GYT campaign with MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during April - National STD Awareness Month. The award-winning GYT campaign is focusing this year on getting sexually active Americans under age 25 to embrace STD testing as part of a healthy, productive life.

GYT aims to increase testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among those under 25 due to the alarming rates of STD infections in this age group — the CDC reports one in four teen girls is infected with an STD. One in two sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25 and most won’t even know it. Of the 19 million new STDs annually in the US, half are among people under 25. When left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection, infertility and cancer.

Using acronyms that saturate young people’s everyday vernacular such as OMG, DYK and LOL, GYT is an easy way for young people to talk about sexual health and getting tested for STDs. GYT aims to help young people internalize the STD risks and eliminate taboos and stigmas surrounding STDs and testing.

To encourage women and men around Northeast Ohio to get tested, PPNEO is hosting “Free Testing Fridays” in April at four of its health centers — April 8, 15, 22, 29 – for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HIV. Patients can either walk in for testing or make an appointment by calling 800-230-PLAN. Location details and Free Testing Fridays times are:

  • Akron Health Center, 444 West Exchange St, Akron, OH 44302, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Canton Health Center, 2663 Cleveland Ave NW, Canton, OH 44709, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Cleveland Health Center, 7997 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44103, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Old Brooklyn Health Center, 3311 Broadview Rd, Cleveland, OH 44109, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In addition, the agency’s Kent health center (http://bit.ly/ppneo-kent-center), 138 East Main Street – 2nd floor, is hosting an open house on Thursday, April 7, from 7-9 p.m. with free Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and rapid HIV tests for the first 20 attendees as well as free pizza, soft drinks, desserts and condoms.

“Most STDs are curable. All are treatable. Don’t wonder. Know. We encourage anyone who is sexually active – men and women – to get tested. More than 95% of PPNEO’s services are preventive. This includes the nearly 60,400 STD tests we did last year,” said PPNEO CEO Tara Broderick. “People are shocked to learn that by age 25, one in two sexually active young people will have an STD. This is reality of what we see at our health centers see every day.”

GYT, includes a mix of on-air, online and real world promotions. The central hub of the campaign, GYTnow.org, will provide comprehensive information about STDs and will direct users to the nearest testing location simply by entering a zip code.

A mobile companion to GYTNOW.org, the GYT short code (498669) provides details about local testing locations to mobile phones by simply texting a zip code.

Campaign fans also can connect via Twitter @gytnow, http://www.twitter.com/gytnow, and “Like,” post and tag GYT on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/gytnow.

“Talking is as important as testing. If a young person is not comfortable talking with their health care provider about STDs, they are less likely to get themselves tested. Our staff works hard to break down communication barriers and overcome myths about testing,” Broderick added. “Talking works in tandem with affordable testing and treatment with a trusted provider.”

Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio (http://www.PPNEO.org) provides essential reproductive health care, family planning services and sexuality education to 78,000 women and men at 16 health centers in 21 counties throughout Northeast Ohio. PPNEO strengthens individuals, families and communities by promoting healthy and responsible decision making about parenthood, relationships and sexual health.

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Celeste Ribbins

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