April is National STD Awareness Month and with it, the award-winning campaign, GYT: Get Yourself Tested has launched for another year.
GYT was launched by MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation and with the support of Centers for Disease Control, Planned Parenthood and others nationwide to raise awareness and spread life-saving information in response to the rate of sexually transmitted infections among youth today in the US. According to the CDC, as many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by age 25 and what’s really scary, is that most won’t know that they have been infected. It is said that sexually active people under the age of 25 represent half of the estimated 19 million STD cases occurring every year in the United States. GYT aims to give youth the information and materials needed to start speaking openly about sexual health and getting tested.
Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention said:
A lack of information, misconceptions and social stigma keep many people from getting tested. Others mistakenly think they have been tested as part of routine health care. Since many STDs have no symptoms, most of those who are infected do not know it. The only way to know for sure is to be tested.
It’s true that there is social stigma surrounding the topic of STDs–from talking about them to actually getting tested, and the most when it comes to actually having an STD and people’s refusal to talk about it not only keep that stigma in place, but surrounds those who do live with STDs in a thick cloak of shame. Towards the end of March I read an article on Feministing from Professor Foxy, the sex educator columnist on the site, answering a question asked by a 22 year old woman who had contracted genital herpes, about how this woman could start to stop hating herself, to stop crying all the time about her STD and how to fully inhabit her body instead of feeling “divorced” from it. While this woman had always been positive about her self-proclaimed “checkered sexual past” and never had any guilt or shame about her promiscuity, but since contracting genital herpes, she hated her body and the way she looked, actually saying that while she used to think she was cute, being cute got her diseased. Not talking about STDs significantly contributes to the rising percentage of STDs contracted every year and keeps those who have an STD firmly in a closeted space and frame of mind, feeling alone even though they are the furthest from actually being alone.
The GYT initiative will include on-air promotions that will be placed throughout MTV programming and will feature celebrities including Keri Hilson, Perez Hilton, Debi Nova, Emily VanCamp and others. It will also include online promotions and an on-the-ground outreach effort that will rise in over 4,000 health centers nationwide, including Planned Parenthood’s 840 health centers and will contain promotional materials, including t-shirts, posters, buttons and stickers. The CDC is working with state and local health departments, the American Social Health Association, National Coalition of STD Directors and the American College Health Association to spread information about the campaign.
To get involved in this social movement, GYTNow.org is providing a community toolkit containing promotional materials that can be customized and localized to make it easy for you, the person who wants to start talking about STDs and encourage your peers to get tested, to spread the word to people around your community.
You can also locate your nearest Planned Parenthood clinic and make an appointment to get tested now!Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Remember Daria? Well, of course you remember Daria! She is everyone’s favorite pessimistic high school teenager from way back when MTV was cool. Well, kind of cool. Between cool and what is this shit, anyway. Wouldn’t it be awesome if one night you could simply pop in a DVD and watch Daria to your heart’s content? Well, now you can because I just found out that Daria is being released on DVD!
The DVD comes out May 11, 2010 and will include all five seasons, as well as both movies and some bonus material, including:
- Five-minute pilot episode, Sealed With a Kick
- Mystik Spiral music video, “Freakin’ Friends”
- Daria Day Intros
- Top Ten Video Countdown hosted by Daria and Jane
- cast and crew interviews
- Never before seen Mystik Spiral spin-off script
As of right now, Daria: The Complete Animated Series is available for pre-order on Amazon, which from the looks of it, is also the place with the best price at $46.99.
So. Excited.Sunday, April 4, 2010
I was going to be one of those non-confrontational, wish everyone a happy Easter and be done with it kind of folks but I could not resist the temptation to make a reference to the fact that if Jesus rose from the dead he was indeed the original zombie. So there’s your explanation of the title of this post, although by now, with all of the thousands of tweets that have been rolling in wishing people a happy zombie Jesus day, I don’t think it really needed an explanation, but I digress.
So, for your viewing pleasure this Easter Sunday morning, I present you with Big Mean Carl devouring bunnies while covering Stand By Me with the bunnies in his belly doing back-up vocals. Enjoy.Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Late Sunday night, House Democrats passed the health care reform bill after more than a year of negotiations, debates, threats and downright refusal from Republicans in the House–none of which crossed that aisle they often love bringing up during election season, claiming they have no problem crossing.
Many Americans who oppose this health care reform bill, mainly conservatives, claim that while they also believe we are in need of health care reform, we don’t need it now and that there are other problems plaguing the American people that are more pressing, which is complete bullshit since most, if not all, of those opposed to the health care reform bill are insured and are wealthy enough to make sure that they could always be insured under the former health care system. Those who were opposed to this health care bill also say that we don’t need it this way, which I agree with, if not for the same reasons.
We could have done without a lot of what the health care reform bill brings to the health care system. What we, the Democrats, the Libertarians, the people of no political affiliation because it’s all corrupt; no matter which way you look at it, what we wanted was a public option. Instead of having the health insurance door open for an additional 32 million uninsured US citizens, we wanted it open for all US citizens and at an affordable cost. We wanted health care to be seen as a right, rather than a responsibility. We wanted House Republicans to see the light and have it dawn on them that they wanted to be part of a country who puts their citizens first. But we did not get that and House Republicans did not get to downright refuse yet another bill. Although, with a great deal of soppy poetry throughout the health care reform debate, they did convince each other that their American people did not need health care reform, therefore they shouldn’t vote for it; and not one Republican did.
The health care reform bill was passed with a 219-212 vote. The House also voted 220-211 in favor of changes to the legislation that came out of negotiations between the House, Senate and the White House. The bill comes with very serious problems and still caters to health insurance companies, but it is a major improvement to what we had, if not what we wanted completely.
The health care reform bill will cost $940 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. With an undoubtedly hefty price tag, the cost of the bill will actually be offset by savings in Medicare and by new taxes and fees–a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans and a tax on the investment income of the most affluent Americans. The bill will also reduce federal budget deficits by $143 billion in the next 10 years and by $1 trillion within its second decade. That point alone had persuaded some of the more fiscally conservative Democrats to support this reform bill.
This bill will give health insurance to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured and who live in fear of becoming sick or having an accident that leaves them in need of hospital care with no way to pay for it later. Major coverage expansion will begin in 2014 and when this time comes, 95% of eligible Americans will have health insurance, compared to the 83% today. Yes, this bill does mandate that almost everyone must purchase health insurance, however, what those who are pushing the “insurance mandate is socialism and it’s the most horrible thing in the world and I’m leaving the country” melodrama are not saying is that this mandate will not go into effect until 2014, so you don’t have to run out tomorrow and pick out health insurance; you have 4 years until then and there is also an exemption for low-income people. An exemption for low-income people? Does this mean that the poorest of American citizens will still see themselves uninsured regardless of the fact that they are the Americans who need health insurance the most? Pretty much, yes. That’s why we wanted a public option, so the public could acquire health insurance and obtain health care they are in dire need of.
The bill also:
- Creates insurance exchanges. The uninsured, self-employed and small businesses are able to purchase insurance through state-based exchanges. For those who make up between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will have help made available to them to purchase insurance through the exchange.
- Expands Medicaid to cover those who make up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Again, to push back the smears of this bill created by the right, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid and there is an additional ban that will not allow undocumented immigrants from purchasing insurance with their own money within the newly-created exchanges.
- Closes the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare, which is a costly gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors. Under this bill, prescription drug prices for seniors will be lowered, making them more affordable to those who need them.
- Bans higher premiums and denial of coverage by health insurance companies because of pre-existing conditions and because of gender. A woman will no longer be charged higher premiums just because she is a woman.
- Requires health insurance companies to cover maternity care.
- Allows children to continue to be covered under their parent’s health insurance plans until the age 26. This will ensure coverage to those who are pursuing higher education until the time they either graduate or are just about to finish grad school.
- Free preventative services and immunizations for all!
One of the “hot button” issues within the health care reform debate was, of course, abortion, thanks to anti-choice Democrats like Bart Stupak, who worked out language with the White House on an executive order that would state (ie: reiterate because of the already in place Hyde Amendment) that no federal funds can be used to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or health of the mother. The bill segregates private insurance premium funds from taxpayer funds and mandates that no health care plan would be required to offer abortion coverage. States are also free to pass legislation choosing to opt out of offering abortion coverge through their exchange.Sunday, March 14, 2010
Today, March 14th, is Pi Day. (Get it? Third month, fourteenth day; pi=3.14…) While the first Pi Day was celebrated back in 1988 with staff of the San Francisco Exploratorium marching around one of its circular spaces and eating fruit pies, it took until March 12, 2009 for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a non-binding resolution recognizing March 14th at National Pi Day.
So now that it is an “official” holiday and all that, I thought I’d pop in here to tell you all to have a great day, or night as it is now, and also give you three great reminders of what 3.1415926535… has brought to the pop culture world.