Whitney Cummings, the comedian and actress famed for her sitcoms, has embarked on a crusade to raise awareness about STD testing among sexually-active youth. Partnering up with the American Sexual Health Association, Cummings has joined the “YES Means TEST” campaign aiming to raise awareness and acceptability for STD testing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STD rates among all US-citizens and the youth in particular have seen an alarming rise. Over half of the staggering 20 million new STDs which pop up each year in the US alone are among young people aged 15 to 24, and there are over 110 million total infections across the entire country.
Partnering with the ASHA, Cummings hopes to stem those rising figures. Their campaign aims to debunk the prominent social stigma around at home STD test kits, and hopes to educate sexually-active young people on how easy testing can be, and how severe the consequences can be for avoiding it.
“Half of all sexually active people will get an STD by age 25, yet there’s still shame and embarrassment when it comes to getting tested,” Cummings told People in a recent interview about the campaign.
The “YES Means TEST” campaign hopes to persuade the sexually-active students and youth they come across that saying “yes” to sex also means saying “yes” to getting checked for an STD.
Cummings’ campaign included a particularly popular stunt where she hit the streets in a smoothie van, selling eager young peoples curious smoothies that she claimed were healthy without providing proof. The stunt included wowing passersby with some STD-related statistics, and directing them to more resources for the future.
Cummings has made it clear that her personal experience is the prime motivator behind the STD-testing campaign.
“People think I’m confident because I can get on stage and be funny, but in my personal life I found I couldn’t ask a partner a very basic question about his sexual health that could affect me forever,” Cummings recounted during her interview with People.
Left untreated, many of the most prominent STDs, such as chlamydia, can worsen and even lead to infertility among women. The “YES Means TEST” campaign’s first targets are young, sexually active women who could suffer such a fate if they remain ignorant about STDs.
“Getting young people to start taking their sexual healthy seriously is important to me,” Cummings concluded.