It may not be one of the most fun topics to talk about, but April is STD Awareness Month and it's really important that we listen up. Because so many of us are awful at speaking about STDs, which leads to a lot of misinformation and, worryingly, more STDs spreading. Especially among young people. In fact, half of the 20 million new STDs contracted every year are in the 15 to 24 age group.
That's why Planned Parenthood's yearly initiative is so great. I mean, of course it is, it's from Planned Parenthood. But this particular initiative, GYT: Get Yourself Tested, is really relevant right now, especially for younger people. “Open, honest communication about STDs is a critical skill that people need to learn in order to be safe and healthy,” Dr. Leslie Kantor, Vice President of Education for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, explained in a press release. “Unfortunately, many young people don’t get the sex education they need and frank conversations about STDs are rare in the media. That’s why Planned Parenthood is excited to debut this video series, which fills a critical gap and should help normalize conversations about safer sex, STD status, and getting tested.”
The video series is aimed at people aged 16 to 22, but honestly it's useful for anyone. You should check out the whole thing on YouTube, but here's an overview of what you can expect:
1How To Talk About Having Safer Sex
It should be simple, right? But it's not, even though everyone knows we should be having safe sex. I know way, way too many people who don't have safe sex simply because they don't want the awkward conversation. If you're confused about how to bring up needing to use condoms, birth control, dental dams, and more, check out this video.
2How To Talk About STD Testing
Talking to a partner about getting tested can be really uncomfortable. You want to assume that you're both clean and faithful and that the conversation ends there, but it shouldn't. This video helps you deal with bringing it up and even how doing it together can help. Check out the video here.
3How To Tell Someone You Have An STD
Probably the most difficult conversation, this video shows how talking about an STD — and having one — doesn't have to be so scary. Although they use the phrase, "Welcome to the herpes club!" which I wouldn't recommend in real life. But the "I like to have sex and I like to be safe" line is right up my alley. Check out the video here.
STD Awareness Month is a great time to start having all the difficult conversations. So check out Planned Parenthood's website and all these videos if you need a bit of guidance. Your health is worth it.