MTV, Planned Parenthood collaborate on STD awareness

NEW YORK: MTV, Planned Parenthood, and the Kaiser Family Foundation recently launched the "GYT: Get Yourself Tested" campaign aimed at reducing the embarrassment around getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

NEW YORK: MTV, Planned Parenthood, and the Kaiser Family Foundation recently launched the “GYT: Get Yourself Tested” campaign aimed at reducing the embarrassment around getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

The initiative will target teenagers and adults in their early 20s with online and broadcast PSAs airing on MTV channels. It also released viral videos and launched gyt09.org, which includes STD information, discussion tips, and testing locations.

“Really the purpose of the GYT campaign is to generate some conversation and to start removing some of the stigma [around testing and STDs],” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The campaign opened April 2, following a pre-launch guerilla marketing effort stunt on the Today show in which MTV interns rushed Matt Lauer wearing T-shirts with the slogan “WTF is GYT?” but refusing to explain it, said Jason Rzepka, VP of public affairs at MTV Networks. Leaving the GYT explanation vague initially, the group hoped to build buzz.

It conducted blog outreach pre-launch, and is focused on digital efforts such as a Facebook application and STD information on Second Life. MTV also released viral videos on YouTube with the “WTF is GYT?” tagline. They featured celebrities such as Big Boi and Perez Hilton.

“It's a subversive and innovative way to engage the audience about something they may not want to talk about, and in essence, it can make testing fashionable instead of something [with a stigma attached],” Rzepka said.

The PSAs coincided with the premiere of the new MTV biopic on the life of late Real World star Pedro Zamora who died from AIDS complications, he added.

While the effort has mainly focused on consumers, Planned Parenthood also conducted media outreach through its branches, targeting local TV, radio, and print outlets. Both organizations are using internal staff for the effort.

A representative of the Kaiser Family Foundation could not be reached for comment.

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