‘Gonorrhea Alert’ Billboards Caution about New Drug-resistant Strain of STD

In Featured by Rachel Mills

By Ged Kenslea, AHF Newsroom

New AHF billboards are prompted by a case of super-resistant strain of gonorrhea reported earlier this year to the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the CDC’s prior report of 468,514 cases of gonorrhea in the US in 2016—3.6% of which showed some degree of drug-resistance. 

LOS ANGELES (May 8, 2018) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is launching its latest outdoor advertising campaign with new billboards raising an alarm and offering a ‘Gonorrhea Alert’ about drug-resistant strains of the sexually transmitted disease—including a case of what has been referred to as ‘super gonorrhea’  reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by physicians in the United Kingdom. The billboard ads come on the heels of a Los Angeles Times front-page article Monday reporting that “STDs in L.A. County are skyrocketing. Officials think racism and stigma may be to blame.”

The ‘Gonorrhea Alert’ billboards urge the public to visit the www.FreeSTDCheck.org website to learn more about the disease and find locations to access free STD testing and affordable care for the treatment of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis through AHF.

The artwork on the billboards feature a dramatic microscopic of image the Neisseria gonorrhea strain resistant to antibiotics. At first glance, the billboard art resembles a poster for a possible new Hollywood science fiction movie. The billboards will first appear throughout Los Angeles starting the week of May 14th and then be posted in more than a dozen other cities and communities nationwide where AHF has operations.

Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly reported STDs in the United States, with more cases than syphilis but fewer cases than chlamydia. According to the CDC, there were close to half a million cases of gonorrhea (468,514) in the U.S. in 2016, with at least 3.6% of that population showing resistance to antibiotics used to treat the infection. And while antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is not a new public health issue, healthcare professionals no longer have a treatment replacement for the current dual-therapy or two-drug regimen, which makes cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea more concerning (click here for CDC page on Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea Information)—and so called cases ‘super gonorrhea’ even more so.

“AHF has been sounding the alarm on rising STD rates through our outdoor advertising campaigns and Wellness Centers for several years now, including with our prior syphilis campaigns that made headlines around the world. Yet we continue to see an inadequate response from the CDC and the drug companies to address the growing public health threats posed by these infections, particularly those medication-resistant strains,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “As for Los Angeles County, we applaud the work on the ‘Spring into Love’ STD awareness and prevention program, which highlights and educates young people on condom use, a prevention tool that many others have largely abandoned. We need to keep making the public aware of and encourage sexually active individuals to get tested for STDs regularly and be treated, if and as necessary, and to use tools like condoms to prevent or reduce the likelihood of possible infections.”

Below are the markets where the “Drug-resistant Gonorrhea Alert” campaign will run. As noted, Los Angeles will start the week of May 14th (with some L.A. locations already posted). Artwork in the other markets will post toward the end of the month. In the markets outside of Los Angeles, the advertising mediums include the following: bulletins (billboards); ‘street furniture’ (transit shelters and bus benches) and Transit (station platforms, rails and buses).

‘Participating ‘Gonorrhea Alert’ Campaign Cities/Locales

California:

  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland

Florida

  • South Beach, Miami
  • Miami
  • Broward County
  • Jaxonville

Illinois

  • Chicago

New York

  • Queens

Nevada

  • Las Vegas

Ohio

  • Cleveland
  • Columbus

Texas

  • Dallas
  • Houston

And Washington, DC

AHF has been promoting sexual health and STD screening through its innovative billboard campaigns for the past several years in response to the overall skyrocketing rates of STDs nationwide, particularly among young people and men-who-have-sex-with-men.

The “Gonorrhea Alert” billboard campaign is a follow up and parallels AHF’s syphilis prevention and treatment billboard campaigns that have included “Syphilis is Serious” billboards which launched earlier this year and the “Syphilis Explosion” outdoor advertising campaign which first starting running in 2014. That campaign was followed by AHF’s “Syphilis Tsunami” campaign which ran in Los Angeles in 2016.

To find locations for free STD/HIV screening, visit www.freestdcheck.org

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