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AHF: Congenital Syphilis Rates a 'Tragedy' and L.A. County Does Nothing

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City News reports that, "Only six cases were reported in 2012 – a
12-year low point – while 44 were recorded in 2017, according to the
Department of Public Health."

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.

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