Low-cost STD testing offered

People can get checked for diseases at Planned Parenthood

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Discounted testing for sexually transmitted diseases will be available Tuesday and Friday at Planned Parenthood.

A test for gonorrhea and chlamydia will be $5, and HIV tests will be $5. The program is offered through GYT09, a national campaign by Planned Parenthood, MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The campaign encourages young people to be tested for STDs; GYT stands for Get Yourself Tested.

"The goal of GYT09 is to generate buzz, remove the taboo and stigma about getting tested and get young people talking about STDs testing in a comfortable way," Monica McCafferty, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in an e-mail.

Steamboat Springs' Planned Parenthood encourages people to make an appointment to be tested, health center assistant Marisa Gray said. HIV testing usually costs $67, and the gonorrhea/chlamydia urine test typically costs $72, she said.

Results of the HIV test are available in about 10 minutes, and the other test takes a couple of days, Gray said. All results are confidential, and Planned Parenthood treats men and women. The agency encourages but does not require parental involvement for people younger than 18, Gray said.

Testing is crucial for anyone who is sexually active, Gray said.

"I think as far as the gonorrhea/chlamydia goes, they are definitely something people can carry without symptoms, and that's why it really is important to get tested," she said. "And even if you think you don't have it, it's probably just a great idea to take advantage of that price, because it can lead to a lot more serious symptoms, especially in women, with fertility."

More people are contracting gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis in Colorado, according to a news release from Planned Parenthood. From 2003 to 2007, reported cases of chlamydia increased 33.1 percent, the release stated.

McCafferty provided statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, at least one in four teenage girls has an STD.

"It is estimated that nearly 19 million new STDs occur each year, and that by the age of 25, one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD," she wrote.

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