Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is offering a special rate for STD testing during April, because, if you haven’t heard, April is STD Awareness Month. It’s called Get Yourself Tested (GYT). In order to get some more information about STDs–303 did release the Sex Issue this month, after all–we caught up with PPRM Spokeswoman, Monica McCafferty.

303: What is the No. 1 issue you deal with on a daily basis?

MM: Prevention is our number one focus, so people most frequently come to us for birth control and other basic reproductive care, like annual exams, treatment for infections, etc. It’s natural for anyone of any age to have questions about sex, sexuality and reproductive health. We are also here to answer questions, providing medically-accurate information at all times.

303: If you could tell our readers one thing about safe sex, what you tell them?

MM: The only way to be sure you’re STD free is to get tested. GYT is meant to get people talking about STDs so people feel comfortable talking with their partner, health care provider or, in some cases, their parents. STDs are actually a very common health issue, yet there are some barriers that prevent people from getting tested. Don’t let embarrassment or fear get in the way of getting tested.

Knowing you sexual status and having open communication about condom use shows you respect your body and your partner’s health, too. For many people, this can be positive in a relationship, as it alleviates worry about infection.

303: For women, where is a good place to start when researching the right birth control pill to use? There seems to be so many options today.

MM: Women should talk to their health care providers about their contraceptive needs and medical history in order to select the best birth control method for them. The best method will depend on women’s lifestyle and medical history. Having an open, honest conversation with your health care provider is essential. Today, there are even non-hormonal options available for women who cannot take estrogen or progestin. It is very important to use condoms with your other method of birth control whenever you are at risk for getting an STD.

303: What’s the biggest misconception that people come into Planned Parenthood with?

MM: For many of our clients, we’re their primary provider of health care. People who visit us know the overwhelming majority of our services (93 percent to be exact) are preventative such as annual exams, Pap tests, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, emergency contraception, etc. It’s typically people who are not familiar with our mission and core services, in addition to our education and advocacy work who do not fully understand the extensive impact we have in the communities we serve.

GYT Campaign from 2009.

Get Yourself Tested (GYT) ! Planned Parenthood offers super-affordable STD testing twice this month, April 23rd and April 27th. For $10, test for chlamydia and gonorrhea (urine test) and $10 for HIV (finger prick).  Visit Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains‘ website for locations and hours. Appointments are encouraged.