MTV Audience Encouraged to "GYT"
National Campaign Encourages Young People to "Get Yourself Tested" for STDs, Including HIV
New York, NY, April 9, 2012 - The fourth annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign kicks off
National STD Awareness Month (April) with new initiatives on-air, online, and on the ground at college campuses and in more than 5,000
health centers across the nation. GYT is an ongoing national campaign launched in 2009 as an extension of a longstanding public
information partnership between MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation to address the high rates of STDs among those under 25.
It is supported by a broad range of organizations including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and
Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which reinforce the on-air campaign with on-the-ground promotions conducted
with health centers and community organizations across the nation.
"MTV has made a sustained 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. "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."
GYT is a youthful, empowering campaign aimed at reducing the spread of STDs among young people through information; open
communication with partners, health care providers, and peers; and testing and treatment as needed. GYT offers a short-hand reference
for young people to open up dialogue about STDs and, in particular, the importance of testing. According to CDC, young people ages
15-24 represent nearly half of all new STDs occurring in the U.S., while representing just 25 percent of the population. Rates
of chlamydia, a preventable and treatable STD, are particularly high. Chlamydia often has no symptoms, and when left
undiagnosed and untreated can cause serious health consequences, including infertility in women. As a result, CDC
recommends annual screening for all sexually active women aged 25 and younger.
"We're proud to be a part of GYT because of the positive difference it has made on the lives of so many young Americans," said
Gail Bolan, MD, director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention. "The facts are clear - STDs are common, and the life-long impact of an
untreated STD is real. But, these don't have to be accepted parts of life. GYT provides the tools young people need to be proactive
about their health."
GYT public service messages air throughout the year on MTV channels with cross promotions with health centers and
community organizations. Extensive information resources - including a dedicated website ( www.gytnow.org), which
provides basic information about common STDs, talking tips and a zip code locator to find local testing locations - as well as mobile
testing locator, GYTNOW (498669) - provide the audience with more information. During April, the campaign scales up its presence by
introducing new messaging and outreach. Some elements of this year's national GYT campaign include:
- "Team GYT" - Celebrities recognizable to the GYT audience help carry the GYT message as part of "Team GYT." Coming
from an array of backgrounds, these celebrities are hand-picked to offer a sense of inspiration and personal empowerment. This year,
the campaign is pleased to welcome Litefoot, a Native American rap artist, actor and entrepreneur.
Litefoot, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, also operates the "Reach the Rez Tour",
an outreach program that promotes positive change among American Indian youth. Litefoot joins the ranks of the
existing members of Team GYT including: The Jersey Shore's Vinny , rap visionary Talib Kweli, celebrity
gossip blogger Perez Hilton, America's Best Dance Crew's Jungle Boogie , professional street
skateboarder Stevie Williams, head of Thehundreds.com Bobby
Hundreds, Paper Twins' artists Nica and Edgar A. English, aspiring fashion-conscious
entrepreneur Allie Bashuk, surf-loving San Franpsycho, San Francisco designer/painter/artist
Ube Urban, Levi Maestro of the online show "Maestro Knows," Buff Monster,
designer Han Cholo, and DJ A-Trak. Team GYT will continue to grow throughout the year as
new faces are added to the campaign. All will carry the GYT brand out into various aspects of youth culture, encouraging
their fans and followers to know their status.
- GYT "Party" - GYT has created a new online interactive video experience to encourage conversations about STDs and
testing with partners, peers, and health care providers. The video, a simulation of a party scene, includes five conversations among
couples, peers and friends, about STDs and testing and is found at http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/talk/party .
The GYT Party is filled with talking tips, an interactive quiz, key information for starting a conversation about STDs and testing and other
- GYT Nation - GYT is also supported by an extensive on-the-ground outreach effort is taking GYT to communities across the
country. GYT promotional and informational materials, including T-shirts, posters, buttons, brochures, and stickers are being distributed to
more than 5,000 health centers and organizations nationwide, including Planned Parenthood's network of nearly 800 health centers and
additional public and private clinics identified by CDC. GYT is also working with state and local health departments the National
Coalition of STD Directors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and the National
Assembly of School-Based Health Centers to provide young people with information about the campaign. And, the American
College Health Association (ACHA) works with GYT to distribute materials through college health centers.
"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."
During last year's GYT campaign, Planned Parenthood health centers tested almost 125,000 men and women in April, and Planned
Parenthood affiliates held 240 events with 1,250 youth volunteers, reaching 67,000 people. Data collected from 10 Planned Parenthood
affiliates show that STD testing has increased significantly since the launch of GYT in 2009. Among the 10 affiliates, there was a
51 percent increase in patients getting tested in April 2011 as compared to the same time in 2008, prior to the launch of the
campaign - suggesting that the campaign helped drive an increase in STD tests. Nationally, Planned Parenthood reported
significant increases in the populations most affected by STDs, including African Americans and people living at or
below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Data is not available for all 80 PPFA affiliates and more than
1000 clinics, colleges and universities, and other partners that also supported the campaign in 2011.
"At Planned Parenthood, we know that affordable testing and treatment, along with education, are the best ways to ensure that
young people stay healthy and safe," said PPFA President Cecile Richards. "For almost a century, Planned Parenthood has been providing
health care information and resources aimed at preventing STDs, and our doors are open to everyone. Getting tested is simply a basic
part of staying healthy, and we're thrilled that the GYT campaign is getting that message out to teens and young people."
GYT launched in 2009 as an extension of a longstanding public information partnership between MTV and the Kaiser Family
Foundation. It is supported by a broad range of organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Coalition
of STD Directors (NCSD), American College Health Association (ACHA), American Social Health Association (ASHA), the National Chlamydia
Coalition (NCC), CDC, and various state and local health departments, colleges and universities, and other community groups and
non-profits. Gilead Sciences, Inc. provides support and resources for select elements of the campaign. CDC provided assistance
to ensure scientific accuracy of GYT health information. Comprehensive informational resources -- designed for web and mobile
applications -- provide facts and referrals to local health centers. For more information, visit www.GYTNOW.org.
MTV is the world's premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV
is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young
people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around
compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV's sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each
deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is the
leading destination for music, news and pop culture. MTV is part of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), one
of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. For more information, go
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism and communication, is dedicated to filling the need for trusted,
independent information on the major health issues facing our nation and its people. The Foundation is a non-profit private operating
foundation, based in Menlo Park, California. www.kff.org
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate.
We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved.
Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 840 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality
education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all
women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs. www.plannedparenthood.org/
CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these
threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation's
health protection agency. For more information about CDC and its programs, visit www.cdc.gov.
Kaiser Family Foundation
Planned Parenthood Federation of America,
Planned Parenthood Media Office
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCHHSTP
- News Media Line