Friday, June 5, 2009

What is GYT?????



National Campaign with the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood and Partners Triggers Youth Conversation, Helps Drive STD Testing

STD Testing Doubles at Many Planned Parenthood Clinics During April

New York, NY, June 1, 2009 – In recognition of National STD Awareness Month (April), MTV, leading pop-culture personalities, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its nationwide network of Planned Parenthood® health centers, and other partners banded together for an aggressive public information campaign to promote testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young Americans under age 25. Today, the partners announced several results which suggest that many young people across the country heard the call to GYT (“Get Yourself Tested”). In many Planned Parenthood health centers, for example, youth testing rates increased more than 50 percent during the month of April 2009 over the previous year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four teen girls in the U.S. have at least one common STD. Other estimates find that as many as one in two sexually-active young people will contract an STD by age 25 – and most won’t know it.[1] In response to these facts, the GYT campaign, an extension of MTV and Kaiser’s Emmy and Peabody-winning “It’s Your (Sex) Life,” informs young people about STDs and promotes testing and treatment as needed. Since the launch of GYT on April 1, 2009, the call-to-action has been embraced by young people across the United States, as the campaign unfolded on-air, online, on mobile devices and in health centers.

Some positive results from the month of April include:

Planned Parenthood Health Systems in North Carolina and South Carolina experienced a more than 100 percent increase in clients (both male and female); in the St. Louis Region, Planned Parenthood reported a 100 percent increase in less-likely-to-test males, as well as a 61 percent increase in female clients.
At campaign launch, “GYT” was one of the most-searched terms on Google, most-discussed videos on YouTube and also generated significant attention on Twitter. GYT-related videos have now been streamed over 400,000 times. Thousands continue to track and engage with the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
Testing for gonorrhea among men and women increased in multiple markets. In fact, Planned Parenthood of Georgia experienced a 64 percent increase in the number of men tested for gonorrhea, while at a Planned Parenthood in South Central New York, the number of women tested for gonorrhea rose nearly 70 percent.
At Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, the number of men tested for HIV more than doubled. The Planned Parenthood of South Texas and the Greater Memphis Region also experienced marked increases in male HIV tests, with a nearly 40 percent increase in the region. Planned Parenthood in Southwest and Central Florida, Indiana, Northern New York, and Southeastern Pennsylvania, to name a few, showed significant increases in the number of women tested for HIV. In fact, Planned Parenthood of Indiana, 45 percent more women were tested for HIV this April over last year., the campaign’s Web hub, provided information to nearly 300,000 unique visitors during April, serving as a resource for facts about STDs; talking tips on how to discuss STD testing with partners and healthcare providers; and connecting young people to nearby testing centers and other resources. Tens of thousands of young people accessed local testing resources through GYT’s online and mobile tools.
During just two days of $5 testing, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains conducted 2,754 chlamydia and gonorrhea tests, compared to the usual average of 156. Additionally, the Planned Parenthood Association of Bucks County experienced an over 60 percent increase in women tested for chlamydia, and at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, 51 percent more men were tested for both gonorrhea and chlamydia.
An all-star collective of pop culture personalities carried the GYT message far and wide, from Soulja Boy tweeting “WTF is GYT” to nearly 200,000 fans on Twitter to Perez Hilton’s GYT video generating over 1,000 comments. Flo Rida, The All-American Rejects, Asher Roth, N.E.R.D., Santigold, Joanna Garcia, Kid Sister, Chester French and Joy Bryant also promoted GYT via their social marketing networks, spreading the word and urging young people to GYT.
GYT Community Kits were distributed to over 1,500 clinics, youth organizations, public health departments and other groups across the country to provide programming materials and resources for local efforts to encourage STD testing.

“The results speak for themselves. Young people around the nation heard the GYT message in April and went out to get tested,” said Stephen Friedman, GM of MTV. “GYT will continue to live as part of It’s Your (Sex) Life, and as young people continue to carry the GYT banner forward so that eventually every sexually active person under the age of 25 gets tested for STDs.”

"We’re very encouraged by the early results of GYT, especially the marked increase in testing at the local clinics and health centers that participated in the effort,” said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director, Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Through more than 450 public outreach and education events across the country, Planned Parenthood GYT’s critical health care message reached more than 20,000 people,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “Combine that with the viral nature of the campaign and the early numbers our health centers are reporting and we know we’ve found an innovative tool to reach teens and young people in a way that they will listen, learn, and, then, make healthy choices.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the approximately 19 million new STDs (also referred to as sexually transmitted infections or STIs) that occur every year in the U.S., about half are among those 15 – 24 years of age. Since STDs often have no symptoms, most of those who are infected don’t know it. Lack of information, misconceptions and social stigma keep many people from getting tested. Others may mistakenly believe they have been tested as part of general health care. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most commonly reported STDs, is easier than ever before with many clinics now offering urine-based tests. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as little as 20 minutes with a swab inside the mouth. Diagnosis and treatment of STDs is critical to safe guarding personal health, fostering sexual responsibility and addressing the wider STD epidemic.

The GYT: “Get Yourself Tested,” campaign was launched to normalize and promote routine testing for STDs among Americans under age 25, with an emphasis on screening for two of the most common STDs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and also for HIV, the most serious STD. From “OMG” to “LOL,” acronyms saturate young people’s everyday vernacular, acting as common methods of communication. Playing off mobile and Web slang, GYT is an easy way for young people to talk about sexual health and getting tested for STDs. GYT aims to help young people internalize the risk of STDs--as individuals and as a generation--seeking to eliminate taboos and stigmas surrounding STDs and STD testing. GYT will continue throughout 2009 as an extension of MTV and Kaiser’s Emmy and Peabody-winning “It’s Your (Sex) Life” partnership to promote responsible decision making about sex.

Since 1997, the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV have partnered on an extensive, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning public information campaign on HIV/AIDS, other STDs and related sexual health issues. The partnership includes targeted public service advertisements (PSAs), entertainment and other special programming, news segments, and free resources, including an informational guide developed especially for the campaign, and an extensive website

For more information on GYT, please visit

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sex Education Disguised as F U N! By: Julie, PPWNM Communications Director

A huge thank you to Julie in the West and Northern Michigan Affiliate for letting me share this article she wrote with you all. Enjoy!!!!!

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan held its 2nd annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Carnival on May 27, 2009. The event was held at the lovely Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, MI, with about 50 people attending.

Members of PPWNM’s Something to Say teen advocacy program were responsible for planning and implementing the carnival, along with PPWNM education staff members Carly A., Poppy H., Julie M., Staci R., and Sara W. Something to Say teens recruited friends and classmates to attend. Invitations signed by parents/guardians were required for entry.

The two-hour carnival titled “Real Talk from the ‘Hood” featured games, prizes, raffles, a picnic dinner, freshly made popcorn and cotton candy, henna tattoos, music, and most importantly — education disguised as fun!

Teens reflected on the importance of comprehensive sex education, both in writing and on videotape: “Sex education is important to me because I’ve seen many of my peers make life-altering decisions without proper knowledge of the consequences,” said a young Kentwood man. A teen girl from Grand Rapids told us, “It’s important to me because sex can cause so many harms, and younger and younger teens are starting to do it. They really need to be educated about it.”

Carnival games included STI Duck Pond, Four Cornerstones Darts, Body Parts Match Game, Comprehensive Sex Ed Match Game, and Dizzy Bat Condom Wrap. The last game required teens to hold a baseball bat top-side-to-ground, place their foreheads on the bottom end of the bat, spin around 10 times, run across the grass and properly dress a penis model with a condom — it’s much harder than it may sound! The activity is meant to simulate what it might feel like to attempt to practice safe sex, even under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Teens could also visit the advocacy table staffed by our Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan field organizer Megan Z.; and the Ask Me Anything booth, staffed by Cherry St. Health Center NPs Karen G. and Amy K. Amy and Karen said teens were most interested in learning about annual exams, various methods of birth control on display, and proper condom usage.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's not too late to sign up for the Michigan Policy Summit happening tomorrow Saturday May 16th at Cobo Hall. We are expecting over a thousand progressives from Michigan to join together under one roof and talk about the issues affecting Michigan residents!!!

Please consider registering

Planned Parenthood staff and supporters will be there to talk more about the issues facing our organization.

We hope to see you all tomorrow.

Stay tuned for a de-brief of the event next week!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Change is happening and the clock is ticking.

On Saturday, May 16 progressive activists from across Michigan will gather for the third annual Michigan Policy Summit. Be a part of the change by signing up today.

At the Michigan Policy Summit, activists, policy experts and community leaders will join to share ideas, plans and campaigns to bring President Obama’s progressive change to Michigan and outline solutions to Michigan’s economy, jobs, health, labor organizing and our Great Lakes state environment.

Please join Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan this Saturday at Cobo Hall, and be a part of change in the making! Registration begins at 8 a.m.; speakers and sessions begin at 9 a.m.

Sign up at today!

Online registration ends at the end of the day tomorrow (May 14th), otherwise onsite registration will be available on Saturday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

PPAM at Michigan Policy Summit 3 Years Running

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan has been a sponsor of the Michigan Policy Summit since its inception three years ago. This year’s Summit, to be held at Cobo Hall in Detroit on May 16th, is titled “Investing in Michigan’s Future” and will focus on healthcare, clean energy, ending the foreclosure crisis, and jobs.

Since all of these issues affect PPAM staff, and our patients, we are excited to be there as part of the solution in these hard times. This Summit, a gathering of progressive organizers and activists, is not only a great way to network, gain support for our campaigns, and learn a lot, but it’s also a great way for Planned Parenthood to exhibit our skills. This year, we will be both tabling at the Organizational Showcase at the Summit and presenting a workshop on Pro-Choice Organizing. (Come by and say Hi to us!)

For more information and to register, please check out

Together, we will take up the change agenda here in Michigan that’s sweeping the nation.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Tides are Changing!

Here's a little update from Planned Parenthood Federation of America President, Cecile Richards:

If President Obama’s pro-women’s health agenda during his first 100 days is indicative of what we can expect during the next four years, we have much to look forward to! Since taking office, the president has shown his commitment to women’s health care on a wide range of issues: repealing the global gag rule, restating his commitment to protecting a woman’s right to choose, creating a White House Council on Women and Girls, expanding access to affordable birth control, and calling for evidence-based, medically accurate sex education. (Check out my Huffington Post blog on President Obama’s top 10 women’s health achievements during his first 100 days.) We’re grateful for President Obama’s leadership on health care and his commitment to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. Here’s to making women’s health care a priority!

Also,the final member of President Obama’s Cabinet has been confirmed — and not a moment too soon! Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ confirmation as secretary of health and human services is an important victory for women and families who are struggling to afford quality health care. In the face of anti-choice opposition to her nomination, Planned Parenthood mobilized 37,712 activists, who e-mailed their senators with the message that Sebelius’ record and credentials make her an outstanding addition to the Cabinet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I think Earth Day may be my favorite holiday! Not that we should stuff all of our love for nature and Mother Earth into one day (maybe we can all start thinking like Earth Day every day...), but what better thing to celebrate than this magnificent planet we inhabit!?

I often think about how women's health in particular is affected by what we're doing to our environment; our soil, our air, our water- all the stuff we take into our bodies every day that that have an impact on us. As providers of life, just like the Earth itself, we need to stay healthy for our sake and for the sake of our families. And we need to protect the planet on which we live so that it can continue to provide all the various forms of life on which we greatly depend.