Mascot Exposes Itself to Promote Sexual Health
February 13, 2009
Today at the corner of Castro and Market, the "Healthy Penis" and "Phil the Syphilis Sore" characters will make their reappearance, urging gay and bisexual men to get tested for syphilis. The characters debuted to controversy in 2002 and eventually became popular with the community before the city dropped the campaign in 2006. Syphilis cases declined over those years, and the costumes were borrowed by other cities to promote STD testing. The San Francisco Department of Public Health is bringing them back following a 50 percent increase in syphilis from 2007 to 2008. Department spokesperson Eileen Shields said the mascots will appear at parades, street fairs, and other public events around the city over the coming year.
San Francisco Chronicle
02.13.2009; Heather Knight
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.