Approximately 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the United States – and almost half of these are among young people aged 15 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sexually transmitted diseases pose a serious public health threat to Americans – particularly young women, African Americans, men who have sex with men, and individuals living in poverty or who have limited access to healthcare. STDs cost the United States’ health care system as much as $17 billion annually.
STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are major causes of infertility among women. These and other STDs can increase the risk of HIV transmission for both women and men.
Act of pride
The Get Yourself Tested Campaign encourages testing as an act of pride, not shame, and promotes a dialogue about STDs. During the GYT Campaign, which runs through April 14, the CSU Health Network will be providing students a discounted rate of $20 on select STD tests, specifically for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Any full-time, health fee-paying student is eligible to receive this discount. No appointment is necessary; students are encouraged to just walk in to the CSU Health Network.
“GYT is so important because most people who get an STD will have no idea. Even if you don’t have symptoms you could still have (an STD), and going in for a test is the best way to know your status,” says Kassi Jensen, student coordinator of programming for CREWS, a peer education group sponsored by the CSU Health Network.
CREWS focuses on talking to students about how to make safe choices. Jensen emphasizes that testing is easy and painless and says that “sexual health is just as important as every other aspect of health and should be treated just like anything else. There is still some stigma around STD testing and we really want to empower all students to go find out their status.”
More information about STDs and GYT is available at health.colostate.edu.