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 (CDC).
The GYT — Get Yourself Tested — campaign encourages testing as an act of pride, not shame, and promotes a dialogue about STDs. Beginning March 23 and running through April 10, the CSU Health Network will be encouraging students to “Get Yourself Tested” by providing a discounted rate of $28 (about 50 percent off the usual rate) on select STD tests, specifically those for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Any full time, health fee-paying student is eligible to receive this discount.
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.
No symptoms sometimes
Symptoms of an STD aren’t always present, so people may not be aware that they have one. Women are especially asymptomatic compared to men. Roughly 80 percent of women have no symptoms while about 20 percent of men show none.
STD screening and early diagnoses are vital to prevent serious health consequences and increased transmission. When people know their status, if necessary, they can take steps to receive treatment and also to protect their partners.
The CSU Health Network has sponsored the GYT campaign for the last three years, and has seen consistently see a dramatic difference between the numbers of women who choose to come in for testing versus the number of men — 70 percent versus 30 percent. However, the number of positive test results have traditionally been split equally. For the 2015 campaign, the CSU Health Network is hoping to increase the number of male participants with more targeted messaging.
“We think our male students are reluctant to come in for testing because they fear the test itself,” said Gwen Sieving, Manager of Sexual Health Initiatives, “But what they don’t realize is that testing is as simple as urinating in a cup.”
The discounted rate applies gonorrhea and chlamydia testing received March 23-April 10 at the Hartshorn Health Center. Walk-ins are welcome during that time or students can schedule appointments online or by phone.