Campaign Aimed at Fighting Syphilis Among Gays

February 19, 2006 - Posted at 12:33 p.m. CST

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ This public health campaign is a real


As in ``drag queen.''

A sharp increase in syphilis cases in Kansas City, particularly

among gay men, has prompted the city's health department to begin a

new kind of outreach.

That's where ``Flo,'' the grande dame of Kansas City's drag

queens, comes in.

Offstage, ``Flo'' is Jon Koop, who has long made the character a

crusader for gay health. Koop has worked the issue into Flo's act

at gay-oriented nightspots.

Koop says the key is to present serious information in a

humorous way, so people remember it -- and act on it.

During Flo's routine, volunteers from area health departments

and medical schools and the Kansas City Free Health Clinic

circulate, offering each patron information about free syphilis


(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)