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An Assessment of the GYT: Get Yourself Tested Campaign: An Integrated Approach to Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention Communication

Friedman, Allison L. MS*; Brookmeyer, Kathryn A. PhD*; Kachur, Rachel E. MPH*; Ford, Jessie MS*; Hogben, Matthew PhD*; Habel, Melissa A. MPH*; Kantor, Leslie M. MPH; Clark, Elizabeth MA; Sabatini, Jamie MSW; McFarlane, Mary PhD*

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2014 - Volume 41 - Issue 3 - p 151–157
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000100
The Real World of STD Prevention

Background Youth in the United States bear a disproportionate burden of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Stigma, misconceptions, and access challenges keep many from getting tested or treated. The GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign was launched in 2009 to reduce stigma and promote STD communication and testing. This evaluation sought to assess the first 2 years of campaign engagement and associations with STD testing among youth.

Methods Campaign engagement with select GYT on-the-ground events, social media sites, and STD testing locator tools was measured through process/media tracking metrics. Sexually transmitted disease testing patterns were assessed using data from Planned Parenthood affiliates (2008–2010) and national trend data from clinics participating in national infertility prevention activities (2003–2010).

Results On-the-ground events reached an estimated 20,000 youth in 2009 and 52,000 youth in 2010. Across 2009 to 2010, GYT’s Facebook page gained 4477 fans, Twitter feed gained 1994 followers, and more than 140,000 referrals were made to the STD testing locator. From April 2008 to 2010, there was a 71% increase in STD testing and a 41% increase in chlamydia testing at reporting Planned Parenthood affiliates (representing ∼118 health centers). Chlamydia case positivity rates during this period were stable at 6.6% (2008) and 7.3% (2010). Trend data indicate that testing was higher in spring 2009 and 2010 compared with other periods during those years; this pattern is commensurate with STD Awareness Month/GYT activities.

Conclusions Data quality is limited in a manner similar to many STD prevention efforts. Within these limitations, evidence suggests that GYT reaches youth and is associated with increased STD testing.

Data compiled from a number of sources suggest that the national GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign is associated with increased sexually transmitted disease communication and testing among youth in the United States.

From the *Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; and Divisions of †Communications and ‡Planned Parenthood Federation of America, New York City, NY

Acknowledgments: The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Elizabeth Torrone at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;Tina Hoff, Meredith Mishel, and Sarah Levine at Kaiser Family Foundation; Jason Rzepka, Lily Williamson, and Liza Vadnai at MTV; and Vanessa Cullins at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: None declared.

Notes: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Correspondence: Allison L. Friedman, MS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, Mail Stop E-44, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail afriedman@cdc.gov.

Received for publication July 26, 2013, and accepted December 27, 2013.

© Copyright 2014 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association