GYT (Get Yourself Tested) During STD Awareness Month
PHOENIX - This is STD Awareness Month and, for the fifth year, MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood and the Centers for Disease Control are partnering in the GYT Campaign - "Get Yourself Talking, Get Yourself Tested."
According to Carol Bafaloukos, associate medical director of Planned Parenthood Arizona, there are 20 million new STD infections each year in the United States, with half of those occurring among the under-25 age group.
"We don't necessarily do a really good job of teaching them about prevention and the importance of using condoms, the important of abstinence," she said. "Well, actually we do teach them about abstinence, but an abstinence-only program doesn't necessarily give them the tools that they need if they do decide to become sexually active."
Bafaloukos noted that many STDs cause no symptoms, so the only way to know is to get tested. The good news, she said, is that virtually all STDs are treatable and many are curable.
Bafaloukos warned that untreated STDs can lead to cervical cancer and possibly to infertility in women.
"That causes a lot of scarring, especially for females in the fallopian tubes. The tubes are so scarred up, it's very difficult for the sperm and the egg to meet up," she said. "So, it can be very detrimental to a female in the way of childbearing at a later age."
Planned Parenthood's director of education, Vicki Hadd-Wissler, remarked that communication with one's partner is very important. She said talking about STDs and testing are the best way to keep yourself and your partner healthy.
"It is a way to show caring to someone else, that I'm concerned about our health, and I think that is a very good way to demonstrate care for another person," Hadd-Wissler said.
During STD Awareness Month, Planned Parenthood Arizona is offering a discount on testing for STDs.