POZlife

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LA Tackles Rising STD Rates With Graffiti

Posted by pozlife on June 26, 2007

 


by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 26, 2007 – 1:00 pm ET 

(Los Angeles, California) Faced with what it calls an alarming increase in gonorrhea and syphilis among gay men and mounting rates of chlamydia among African and Hispanic women in Los Angeles County the Department of Public Health is going to the streets to warn people about risky sex.

The Department on Tuesday announced a campaign using guerilla marketing tactics to reach out to people.

It will utilize graffiti murals, sidewalk drawings, printed drink coasters and mirror stickers in night clubs and gyms, along with traditional media such as posters and billboards to try to curb STDs. 

“Gay and bi-sexual men represented at least 1,000 cases of syphilis in 2006,” said County Health Officer Jonathan E. Fielding.

In 2005, 85% of the recorded syphilis cases were among this group. Six out of 10 of those cases occurred among HIV-positive men Fielding said. 

Untreated syphilis can have devastating health consequences, including impairment of the ability to walk, permanent vision loss, permanent hearing loss, and brain damage. Public Health identifies patients with these health outcomes every year he said.

There are more than 30,000 cases of chlamydia and more than 5,000 cases of gonorrhea in women alone every year in LA County said Peter R. Kerndt, the Director of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Program.

African American and Latina women make up the largest number of those reported cases out of any other group he said.

“Gonorrhea and chlamydia are often asymptomatic, so that infected individuals do not know they are infected, and do not seek medical care,” Kerndt said. “However, these diseases can have serious consequences, including complications during pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, and infertility.”

The campaign was conceptualized and developed by Fraser Communications in Santa Monica.

It is part of a comprehensive public health strategy that includes augmented Public Health Investigator field staff to follow-up on treatment with patients; additional field staff placed at community agencies that have rapport with gay and bi-sexual men, and have detected large numbers of syphilis cases in their clients; and enhanced testing in the LA County Jail System, where high rates of syphilis have been previously detected.

Source: Gay News From 365Gay.com

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