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MTV Program Promotes Sexual Awareness

MTV Program Promotes Sexual Awareness

Get Yourself Tested is a media campaign aimed at encouraging young people to take responsibility for their sexual health. "GYT was developed to make it easier to talk about testing and STDs," said Jason Rzepka, vice president of public affairs at MTV Networks, which is collaborating with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America on the effort.

GYT, launched in 2009, is boosting its outreach to colleges and universities with a new initiative. "The new campus challenge -- the 'GYT Now Campus Challenge' -- has students pledging to get tested through [social networking applications] like Facebook," said Rzepka. Schools deemed to be most "involved" will be awarded prizes like free concerts, mtvU spotlight events, and a sweepstakes entry for the MTV Movie Awards, he said.

"[GYT] is the best way to engage young people in real time," said Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

"Half of the 19 million cases of [STDs] occur among young people," said Fenton. "One in four teenage girls has one common STD," he said. One in two people will have contracted at least one STD by the time they turn 25.

Despite these grim statistics, young people have effective prevention tools at their disposal, said Fenton. These include abstinence, reducing the number of sex partners, and using condoms consistently and correctly.

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