April marks national Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Month. This campaign began in 2009 as collaboration with American College Health Association, Kaiser Family Foundation, National Coalition of STD Directors, MTV, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. GYT aims to reach our growing young adult population and bring awareness around knowing your HIV/STD status. Of the 20,000,000 new STD cases each year, half of them are from folks under 25 years old1 and most of them are not aware of their infection.
Why do you need to get yourself tested?
“If I need to be tested, my doctor would automatically test me, right?”
“You can tell someone has an STD from looking.”
“I don’t have symptoms, so I don’t need to be tested.”
These are frequent comments that come up when people talk about the need to get tested – but unfortunately, none of these things are true. It’s impossible to tell if someone has an STD just from looking because the majority of STDs have no symptoms at all. And while your doctor is a great resource for information and health services, most doctors don’t automatically test for STDs so you have to make sure and ask.
Who Should Get Tested?
Everyone! The CDC recommends that every person get tested for HIV at least once2 and . Additional testing for other STDs should occur based on individual risk factors (ex: needle sharing from injections, assault, multiple sex partners, a partner with an STD) or exposure to body fluids from other people such as blood, breastmilk, vaginal secretions, and semen, which can carry infectious pathogens.
- Ranked 34th among 50 states in chlamydial infections (391.2 per 100,000 persons) and ranked 23rd among 50 states in gonorrheal infections (98.5 per 100,000 persons)
- Reported rates of chlamydia among women (543.8 cases per 100,000) that were 2.4 times greater than those among men (231.2 cases per 100,000)
- Ranked 24th among 50 states in chlamydial infections (428.7 per 100,000 persons) and ranked 16th among 50 states in gonorrheal infections (109.3 per 100,000 persons)
- Reported rates of chlamydia among women (611.8 cases per 100,000) that were 2.6 times greater than those among men (239.5 cases per 100,000)
Where Can I get tested?
Clinics such as Planned Parenthood provide services including (but are not limited to) HIV/STD screenings, cancer screenings, vaccinations and family planning assistance. County health departments also serve as a resource for many Hoosiers and Kentuckians and offer additional services, such as the chronic disease care, substance abuse resources and the women, infants, and child (WIC) program. Clinics and health departments have a variety of hours and days to and work with insurance plans to assure the best care is provided to accommodate as many patients as possible. To find your local STD testing center, visit GetTested.cdc.gov