Sexually active young people account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STI) occurring in the United States each year – and most are unaware that they are infected.
There will be an open forum discussing the risks of STIs Monday, April 7, at 7 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center.
“It is our hope that by making students aware of the problem of STIs, they will not only get tested, but take steps to prevent or decrease the risk of STIs,” said Dr. Sanford Kimmel, professor and vice chair of the UT Department of Family Medicine. “Abstention is the only sure way to prevent STIs. Condoms do decrease the risk, although STIs can be spread by all forms of sex.”
Get Yourself Tested, Get Yourself Talking is a national campaign that increases awareness about sexually transmitted infections and how to prevent them, links young people to STI testing services, and promotes a more open dialogue with partners and health-care providers.
“I encourage all sexually active people to take initiative and get screened for STIs on a routine basis. Knowing is empowering,” said Dr. Tara Erbele, assistant professor in the UT Department of Family Medicine. “Communicate openly with your partners; everyone gets an STI from someone. While it may be a difficult conversation to have, it is critical for their health and it is significant in reducing the spread of these infections.”
The GYT national campaign is a partnership between the American College Health Association, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the National Coalition of STD Directors, MTV and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. GYT also receives technical consultation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information and to locate a testing center, visit the GYT website.
The Student Medical Center on Main Campus offers free HIV testing on the third Monday of each month from 4 to 6 p.m.