LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2018--AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF ), which has aggressively been promoting syphilis awareness, prevention and treatment via independent public service awareness and billboard campaigns in Los Angeles for more than a decade, today harshly criticized Los Angeles County officials on the news of a dramatic spike in congenital syphilis cases in the County.

According to City News Service (via Patch North Hollywood ) “ Only six cases were reported in 2012 (in Los Angeles County) – a 12-year low point – while 44 were recorded in 2017, according to the Department of Public Health.” The news came as part of an alarming new report out this week by the California Department of Public Health showing all-time high numbers of STDs in California.

“This more than sevenfold increase in congenital syphilis cases in Los Angeles is an avoidable, heart-rending tragedy and Los Angeles County is essentially doing nothing about it,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “These numbers—and the lives of the babies and mothers they represent—indicate that an immediate and greatly stepped-up response by County Health officials is needed. Vastly increased availability of testing and treatment for syphilis is critical to break the chain of new infections. And the promotion of pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP for HIV prevention to the exclusion of everything else is a public health disaster: the rates of STDs—which PrEP offers NO protection from—are through the roof here in L.A., throughout California, and in many places across the country.”

‘Syphilis is Serious’ is an AHF public awareness and billboard campaign launched earlier this year highlighting prevention and treatment of syphilis. The billboards drive the public to 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 syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia through AHF.

The “Syphilis is Serious” billboard was a follow up to AHF’s groundbreaking “Syphilis Explosion” outdoor advertising campaign which first started running in 2014. That campaign was followed by AHF’s “Syphilis Tsunami” campaign which ran in Los Angeles in 2016 and was complemented by a digital media campaign to draw attention to the national syphilis epidemic and to put pressure on the drug company Pfizer to supply Bicillin L-A, a key syphilis medication—and the only treatment recommended for congenital syphilis patients—in quantities that meet the growing demand for treatment.

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

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 900,000 individuals in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us: @aidshealthcare.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180516006610/en/

CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT:

AHF

Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications

+1-323-308-1833 (work)

+1-323-791-5526 (mobile)

gedk@aidshealth.org

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: WOMEN HEALTH AIDS INFECTIOUS DISEASES PUBLIC POLICY/GOVERNMENT OTHER HEALTH PUBLIC POLICY STATE/LOCAL CONSUMER GENERAL HEALTH MEN

SOURCE: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 05/16/2018 09:54 PM/DISC: 05/16/2018 09:54 PM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180516006610/en