Recent reckless comments from the president about injecting disinfectants have spurred urgent press announcements from health professionals and cleaning product manufacturers alike about the dangers of shooting up bleach. In San Francisco, it has also summoned visions of a noble helper from bygone days who wouldn’t have suffered such foolishness about shooting up. A local superhero who was dedicated to educating civilians about the proper use of bleach and injections. One who sought to prevent the spread of HIV and fight the stigma of drug use, all while wearing a cute outfit.
Armed with a Ringling Brothers-inspired oversized needle and festooned with a jug of bleach for a head, “Bleachman” was the official mascot of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation during the late ‘80s. Not only was his image plastered in advertisements on bus stops and free papers all over town, like all great superheroes, he had his own comic book and catchphrase too. “If you use the drug, you gotta use the jug,” Bleachman would quip before demonstrating the step-by-step process for cleaning needles. The "live action" costumed character made personal appearances too, patrolling the streets of San Francisco to educate IV drug users on the best way to prevent contracting HIV, stopping to take photos with fans along the way.
Witness him in all of his celebrity glory in this surprisingly candid PSA on late night television.
Needle exchanges and safe injection sites may have reduced the need for Bleachman’s services, but in these current dark times of misinformation, perhaps he will swoop in to save us once more.
Image: Better World Advertising
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