Unlike southbound drivers on Texas 121, who are warned thrice between Richland Hills and downtown Fort Worth of the dangers of the Zika virus by billboard PSAs, northbound drivers coming from downtown are being met with an altogether more jarring message.
There’s a “Syphilis Tsunami” threatening Fort Worth if we’re to believe the billboard above the office building in the 2900 block of Airport Freeway. Weird, since we’re landlocked and all.
The image, part of a campaign for freeSTDcheck.org, co-opts one of the most famous pieces of Japanese art, Hokusai’s “ The Great Wave off Kangawa,” to make its point. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation runs the campaign; the billboard previously attempted to drive traffic to another foundation website, useacondom.com.
Foundation websites are attempting to take the campaign into the social media space by encouraging selfies and posts using the hashtag #AHFbillboardselfie, which, um, hasn’t really taken off, according to social media searches.
The foundation has apparently found it necessary in today’s media and advertising landscape to take its campaign to eliminate AIDS, syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases old-school via a giant jarring message 42.5 feet in the air on a billboard along the highway.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 74,702 new diagnoses of syphilis were made in the United States in 2015, compared to 395,216 cases of gonorrhea. So don’t be surprised if a new “gonorrhea gauntlet” billboard pops up in your neighborhood next.