Monday, June 16, 2008
It is better to look good than to feel good (or not have syphilis)
According to CDC data, Alabama’s Jefferson county’s 2006 syphilis rate was the highest in the nation.

Despite that rather sobering statistic, Birmingham’s mayor, Larry Langford, along with a number of other elected officials, wanted the county Board of Health to suspend their anti-syphilis campaign and find a new way of reaching people at risk, stating that the messages were “too prominent.”

he ads on buses, they feared, would give visitors to Birmingham a “bad impression”.

"It's hard enough to compete for business without having people to walk in and have that shock value added to it," Langford said. "We have a lot of issues, but you don't destroy your city. You find other ways to address those problems."

Meanwhile, Alabama ranks in the top five nationally for the highest rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The Centers for Disease Control's 2006 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance report ranked Alabama with the second highest in the rate of syphilis, fourth in gonorrhea and fifth in chlamydia. Despite being removed from the buses, the ads will still appear on billboards and will still run on radio.

Dr. Elizabeth Turnipseed, director of disease control for the Jefferson County Department of Health noted that the effort has been highly effective. In the first three months of 2008, 900 more people came in for free syphilis screening than in the last three months of 2007, Turnipseed said. Billboards and radio spots warning of a syphilis outbreak started in October, and bus banners went on 10 buses in November.

While all elected officials were notified of the media blitz before it occurred, no one had any objections at the time.


Stumble It!


Blogger jenny said...

Right. Because those "If Hepatitis were attacked you face instead of your liver, you'd do something about it" bus signs are absolutely ruining Chicago.

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