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Sometimes we don’t want to hear alarming statistics, but we can no longer bury our heads in the sand. The fact is that one in two sexually active young people will get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the age of 25. Most of them won’t even know.

Why? We are reluctant to talk about STDs. The time has come to get yourself talking and get yourself tested. That’s why Planned Parenthood joined with MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a campaign to raise awareness about the need to get tested during National STD Awareness Month in April. Together, we are braking down the barriers to talking about STDs and getting tested.

Testing is easy and painless. And all STDs are treatable. Yet, because STDs often show no symptoms, many of those infected don’t know it. That’s why talking openly with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, parents and partners is so important. Testing is a positive thing to do to protect your health. There is no shame in testing. In fact, it would be a shame to not get tested and live unknowingly with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HIV/AIDS.

Approximately 19 million new cases of STDs will occur every year in the United States. These are numbers we can no longer ignore and we can reduce. We must get the message out that a simple test can protect your health, even save your life.

Brynne Parker,

Missoula

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