Condom Controversy Prompts Removal of Zika-Prevention Billboards

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Apparently promoting safe-sex is offensive.

Two billboards in Broward County were taken down following controversy over the depiction of an unrolled condom. The billboards were created to encourage people to have protected sex to prevent transmission of the Zika virus in Florida.

According to WSVN a spokesperson from AHF claimed that pressure from the Fort Lauderdale Mayor’s office, alongside the Tourism Board, prompted the signage company to remove the billboards.

The ads were placed along I-95 and I-595. “They felt, I guess, that they could impact tourism,” AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesperson Michael Kahane told WSVN. “I find it completely disgusting.”

He added: “It’s outrageous. This is a public health issue. People need to have as much information as they can possibly have about it.”

Related: Measure for Perfect Fit: ONE Condoms to Provide 56 Sizes

But, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau does not claim responsibility for the billboards coming down — in fact, even if they wanted to, they have no power to do so.

“We relayed that concern to the billboard company,” Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Stacy Ritter said in a statement. “To my knowledge, that is the extent of our involvement.”

Jason King, Legislative Affairs Manager at AHF, on Facebook, blasted those who called for the removal of the billboards.

"Very disappointed in my community today. AHF aims to inform people about Zika in South Florida and how to prevent transmitting or contracting it. Meanwhile, Florida continues to lead the nation in new HIV infections," he wrote. "The thanks AHF gets is our leaders calling for the billboards to be taken down. Shame! We will continue to educate citizens of Florida on the fact the Zika is here and it can be sexually transmitted."

There is still one billboard remaining in Florida City.
“I do [think the public could be offended], but I think public health is more important than someone’s sensibilities being offended,”
Kahane said.

There are currently 33 reported Zika virus cases in Florida.

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