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With April being National STD Awareness Month, a new national campaign to spark sexually transmitted disease awareness launched in New York this morning. Media giant MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation have been partners in spearheading the “GYT: Get Yourself Tested” campaign since 2009, using a variety of campaign strategies to reach college campuses and over 5,000 health centers nationwide.

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The effort is supported by organizations such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Although STD awareness is the main aim of the campaign, the push for HIV testing has also become part of the growing conversation.

MTV has sustained a strong commitment to challenging the stigma that prevents countless young people from getting tested for STDs and HIV,” said Jason Rzepka, Vice President of MTV Public Affairs, via press release. “We’re proud that GYT has helped drive notable increases in STD testing, but there’s no finish line in this race, and we will continue to do all we can to help our audience make responsible decisions about their sexual health.”

Sobering numbers from the CDC say that youth ages 15-24 account for nearly half of all new STD cases in the United States. Recent reports from the CDC say that Blacks and Hispanics contract STDs at a significantly higher rate than their white counterparts. One of GYT’s top objectives is to arm young people with the knowledge they need to combat the alarming number of infections.

When it comes to STDs, many of those at risk don’t know it or assume they would know if they had one,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Communication & Media Partnerships Program. “Through a combination of on-air, online, and on-the-ground messages, GYT is working to increase knowledge and remove the stigma of STD testing.”

For more information on the “GYT: Get Yourself Tested Campaign,” click here.

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