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"GYT" Aimed at Montanans Under 25

PHOTO: April is National STD Awareness Month. Montanans under age 25 are being encouraged to be tested, since many infections have no symptoms. Poster courtesy of CDC
PHOTO: April is National STD Awareness Month. Montanans under age 25 are being encouraged to be tested, since many infections have no symptoms. Poster courtesy of CDC
April 22, 2013

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - The under-25 set in Montana is being encouraged to GYT, which stands for "Get Yourself Tested." It's a campaign for April's National STD Awareness Month, encouraging sexually-active young adults to talk with their health-care providers about sexually transmitted diseases - STDs.

According to Kate Everhart, lead educator with Planned Parenthood of Montana in Great Falls, chlamydia is the most common STD in the state, and it's one of the easiest to cure.

"A lot of the really common bacterial infections are easily treatable with antibiotics, so there's not a huge cost that's associated with it," she remarked.

Gonorrhea is also frequently seen. Everhart stresses that it's important that both partners be treated, because a person can be re-infected even after treatment.

According to the CDC, about half of the 19 million STD cases reported in the U.S. every year are among people under age 25. Everhart said that with chlamydia, there are usually no symptoms, but there are possible lifelong consequences, especially for women.

"It can cause PID, which is pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause scarring. It can cause a lot of pain, and it actually can lead to infertility."

Everhart noted that sometimes there's reluctance to get tested because of the costs. She added that there are sliding-fee scale appointments available at Community Health Centers and Planned Parenthood.

The CDC is a co-sponsor of the GYT campaign.

More on the GYT campaign is at CDC.gov.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT