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New ‘Gonorrhea Alert” billboards go up as STD rates rise in California

/ 12:05 PM May 17, 2018

New billboard STD alert from AIDS Healthcare Foundation. CONTRIBUTED

LOS ANGELES — New billboards are raising an alarm and 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 by physicians in the United Kingdom to the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this year.

The national outdoor ad campaign is the latest by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).

The new Gonorrhea Alert billboards, posted this past week in Los Angeles and are going up nationwide over the next two weeks, come on the heels of an alarming new report out by the California Department of Public Health showing all-time high numbers of STDs in California:

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  • Chlamydia, up 9% in 2017 in California from 2016 (218,710 cases, and the highest number since reporting began in 1990);
  • Gonorrhea, up 16% in 2017 to 75,450 California cases, with 33% found among those under age 25; and
  • Syphilis, up 20% to 13,605 cases—the highest number in California since 1987.

The artwork on the gonorrhea 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 first appeared throughout Los Angeles starting the week of May 14 and will be posted over the next two weeks in more than a dozen other cities and communities nationwide where AHF has operations.

The ‘Gonorrhea Alert’ campaign follows a prior ‘Syphilis is Serious’ AHF campaign launched earlier this year highlighting prevention and treatment of syphilis. Both campaigns drive the public to AHF’s www.FreeSTDCheck.org website to learn more about the diseases and find locations to access free STD testing and affordable care for the treatment of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis through AHF.

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 of ‘super gonorrhea’ even more so.

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

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TAGS: AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), disease prevention, gonorrhea alert billboards, health, sexually transmitted diseases, STD, WHO
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