GYT – What are the risks?

Get Yourself Tested (GYT) – Part 3

Survivor, Amazing Race, Dancing with the Stars

Every night, TV offers us some version of “reality” programming, In 1994, one of the first reality shows, MTV’s Real World, actually did deal with something very real in our lives – the HIV epidemic.  Their house included a groundbreaking reality character named Pedro Zamora.

Pedro’s story was very real — at age 17 he tested positive for HIV and made the decision to share a very personal journey to raise awareness about the realities of the disease. Pedro’s experience, far too short because he died at the age of 22, is recreated in a new film airing on MTV called PEDRO, which is viewable online at this link. The timing couldn’t be better to incorporate this film as part of STD Awareness Month and our GYT blogs.

Consider this:

  • Nearly 50 percent of high school students have had sexual intercourse, and 35 percent are currently sexually active
  • Nearly 15 percent of high school students have had sex with four or more people
  • At least one in four teenage girls has an STD
  • Having another STD can make it 5 times more likely for a person to acquire HIV from a sexual partner

It is fortunate that HIV has become a much more manageable disease now, 16 years after Pedro’s death.  But HIV, syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and others can still lead to major health consequences.

That’s why the premiere of PEDRO is so important. It is a moving experience to watch this vital and active young adult’s health decline.  It reminds us to stop being complacent, to be vocal, and to continue to dispel the myths and stigma that persist about sexually transmitted infections.

Roger Miller, MD (SHS Preventive Medicine) for BuckMD