LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Officials Launch Syphilis Prevention Campaign
Citing a recent syphilis outbreak among gay men and fearing an increase in HIV cases, Los Angeles County health officials yesterday launched a $450,000 STD prevention campaign, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. Of the 93 patients diagnosed with syphilis since March, 48 also tested positive for HIV. In addition to the distribution of 500,000 condoms, the campaign will use radio and print ads, billboards, posters and Internet chat room postings to encourage men to get tested, limit their number of sexual partners and engage in safe sex. Organizers noted that the promotion of these messages will be a challenge, since the median age of the men who contracted syphilis is 36. "We're facing a rejection of the safer-sex message here by men who know the message and maybe even practiced it for a long time," Terry Ford, director of prevention for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said, adding, "It's just a kind of rebellion against safer sex. We're trying to fight against that" (Verdin, 5/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.