New AHF Billboards Warn of “Syphilis Tsunami”

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AHF–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has launched its latest outdoor
advertising campaign with new billboards warning of a “Syphilis Tsunami”
going up around Los Angeles and other U.S. cities this week.


AHF’s “Syphilis Tsunami” outdoor advertising campaign references the
world-renowned landscape print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Katsushika
Hokusai
 to draw attention to dramatically rising rates of syphilis
across the country. In April, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) noted an
estimated 33% increase of infectious syphilis cases from
2014-2016
.

The national response needed to this growing public health crisis is
made even more urgent by the fact that Pfizer, the manufacturer of
Bicillin L-A (Penicillin G benzathine), the preferred medication used to
treat syphilis and the only treatment recommended by the CDC for
pregnant women with the infection, has refused to meet the medical
demand through constant drug shortages and multiple stockouts of the
treatment over the past year, as widely reported by news
organizations
 and health
agencies
.

In May, health advocates from AHF and
other groups took to the streets in Manhattan to protest in
front of Pfizer’s New York City corporate headquarters to draw attention
to the drug company’s third drug stock out of Bicillin L-A in less than
one year.

“For several years, AHF has been sounding the alarm on the rising rates
of syphilis and other STDs through our outdoor advertising campaigns,
including our ‘Syphilis Explosion’ billboards that made headlines around
the world, and yet we continue to see an inadequate response from the
CDC and the drug companies to address this growing public health
threat,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Clearly, we need
to keep making the public aware of syphilis and encourage sexually
active individuals to get tested for STDs regularly and be treated. By
posting these billboards in highly visible areas, we also want to keep
pressure on public health officials to push Pfizer to produce sufficient
quantities of the medication needed to address the syphilis epidemic.”

“Pfizer, which has the exclusive patent on Bicillin L-A, is the third
largest drug company in the world, with more than $50 billion in revenue
reported in 2016, yet, somehow this American pharmaceutical powerhouse
has been unable or unwilling to prepare for, and/or meet the demand by
medical providers, pharmacies—and patients—for its syphilis medication
for nearly the entire past year,” said Jessica Reinhart, Associate
Director of Community Outreach for AHF. “We will continue to call on
Pfizer to right this ship or allow a generic drug maker to begin
manufacturing and selling the medication.”

As a follow up to AHF’s groundbreaking “Syphilis Explosion” outdoor
advertising campaign, the “Syphilis Tsunami” billboards will appear in
Los Angeles, CA; Oakland, CA; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Chicago, IL;
Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL and Columbus, OH. The outdoor campaign will be
complemented by a digital media campaign to draw attention to the
national syphilis epidemic and to put pressure on Pfizer to supply
Bicillin L-A in quantities that meets 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
768,000 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

Contacts

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director,
Communications
+1.323.308.1833 work
+1.323.791.5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
Christopher
Johnson,
Associate Director of Communications
+1.323.960.4846
work
+1.310.880.9913 mobile
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org