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New York: Centro Won't Allow Ad Naming Sexual Diseases

March 19, 2003

Central New York Regional Transportation Authority's Centro, which provides bus service to the Syracuse area, has drawn criticism for rejecting a public health ad that lists eight STDs by name. Designed by the Central New York HIV Care Network for placards inside buses, the proposed ad read: "After a night of unprotected sex, you might not go home alone." It listed eight STDs: syphilis, genital herpes, HIV, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, human papillomavirus, and hepatitis B. Readers of the proposed ad were then urged to call the AIDS Community Resources toll-free hotline for more information.

Normal Communications President Arnie Rothschild, whose firm is Centro's ad agency, said that the ad's message was acceptable. However, Rothschild said Monday he told CNY HIV Care officials that he would not run the ad with the list of diseases for fear of upsetting some Centro riders. "These buses go to schools. I don't want an 11-year-old looking at his mom and saying, "What's syphilis? What's gonorrhea?'"

CNY HIV Care Network coordinator Stephen Waldron said that his organization was unwilling to change the ad. Waldron did not dispute that the ad may be offensive to some riders, "but there was nothing graphically provocative about our ad," he said. According to Waldron, a New York Department of Health grant paid for the $5,100 campaign that was to have placards placed in 57 buses in Syracuse, seven in Oswego, and six in Auburn, in addition to five bus shelters.

Rothschild said his firm has become more sensitive to public concerns about ads in the Syracuse market after an ad featuring model Claudia Schiffer in her underwear received scrutiny two years ago. Rothschild's firm also recently required a local peace coalition to redesign anti-war bus ads that showed bombs falling on children.

Back to other CDC news for March 19, 2003

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Adapted from:
Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.)
03.18.03; Mike McAndrew

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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