MTV's Too Fast for Love Tour drew to a close on June 11, in Philadelphia, after kicking off back in April. And headliners Cobra Starship, Travie McCoy and 3OH!3 performed for a good cause: The concert festival was organized to raise awareness of and promote testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
The sold-out crowd included students from Roger Williams University, who packed the front row after crushing the competition in the GYT: Get Yourself Tested Campus Challenge. In winning the contest, those students underlined the importance of getting tested for STDs. And on Sunday, which marks annual National HIV Testing Day, you can do the same.
A wealth of information on how to track down free HIV-testing locations and events is available at MTV's GYTnow.org. Readers can also find important facts about HIV/AIDS and tips on how to bring up testing with partners or health care providers.
The campus challenge was part of the MTV-sponsored GYT campaign, mounted in response to some alarming statistics. Among them is the fact that one in two young people will get an STD by age 25 — many without knowing it. The GYT campaign seeks to create a social movement around getting tested.
Aimed specifically at college students, RWU beat out 166 schools this year for the top spot in the challenge by successfully recruiting a little more than 500 participants who agreed to undergo testing. Kirstie Goodwin, a junior and one of RWU's Student Health and Wellness Educators, or H.A.W.E.S., led RWU to the win, recruiting 30 percent of the final tally.
"I think raising awareness can make a difference. A lot of people on campus didn't realize that [RWU] Health Services even does testing," she said. "After we did the GYT Campus Challenge, they ran out of HIV tests in Health Services because so many people wanted to get tested."
"Sexual health and sexuality have always been on RWU's radar," said Donna Darmody, director of health education for the H.A.W.E.S. program. "Students are encouraged to have honest talks about sex right from the get-go because they are comfortable about the topic; they're more inclined to be safe."
Exclusive footage from the Too Fast for Love Tour, as well as blog posts by winning students about their trip to Philly, is available on Think.MTV.com.
Will you get tested? Share your thoughts in the comments.