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We Might Be Illiterate But At Least We Don't Have Syphilis

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Aug 10, 2004 6:28PM

Chicagoist was about to write a post about our bucking the national trend of rising syphilis rates when we noticed on Gapers Block that Chicago ranks really low on the list of the most literate cities . So now we must sit back and ask ourselves: "What's more important? Being able to read or being clean?

Chicago Syphilis adsThe University of WI - Whitewater released "America's Most Literate Cities 2004," a report that ranks 79 US cities with populations of 200,000 based on literacy. Chicago comes in at a disapointing #58 on the list, which is a little bit lower than NYC (#49) and a little bit higher than LA (#68). It could be worse, though. For the second year in a row El Paso came in dead last. Minneapolis came out tops. The survey also breaks down the cities and ranks them by education level (we're at #59), periodical publishers (#10, yay!), newspaper circulation (#50), libraries (#71, whoa), and bookstores (#54).

But the good news is that Chicago's health department and Syphilis Elimination Task Force are reporting that Chicago is bucking a national trend of rising rates of syphilis infection among gays and bisexuals. While the city is proud of our low syphilis rate, they plan to launch more campaigns against it in hopes to lower the rate even more. Chicagoist says, "if we've got syphilis down, why not move on to another STD?"

Maybe on the el we need more Poetry in Motion and fewer ads encouraging us to get tested for syphilis? Although Chicagoist likes the syphilis ads with the headlines saying "Do you really believe that rash is because we changed detergents?" and "Dude, I don't think that's from biting your lip."