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AIDS Healthcare Foundation to Offer Free Meningitis Vaccines in Hollywood

Health officials announced Wednesday that eight people in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with the disease this year.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced today it will offer free meningitis vaccines at its clinic in Hollywood. Patch file photo.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced today it will offer free meningitis vaccines at its clinic in Hollywood. Patch file photo.

Responding to news that three people have died and five others have been diagnosed in Los Angeles County with invasive meningococcal disease, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced today it will offer free meningitis vaccines at its clinic in Hollywood.

Health officials announced Wednesday that eight people in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with the disease this year. The county confirmed Thursday that three of those eight people had died.

The county Department of Public Health is offering free vaccines to residents without health insurance. A list of clinics is available by calling the county information line at 2-1-1 or online at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/.

AHF announced that it will offer vaccinations at its Hollywood Men's Wellness Center, 1300 N. Vermont Ave., suite 407. The center is open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the county health department, said men who have sex with other men should be vaccinated -- especially those who find partners online or who share cigarettes, marijuana or illegal drugs.

Of the eight cases reported in the county, four involved men who have sex with other men, including three who were HIV-positive, according to the county.

County DPH officials consulted with state health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, and they recommended vaccinations for all men who have sex with men, regardless of whether they consider themselves gay or bisexual, and regardless of their HIV status.

Health officials noted that the risk of contracting IMD is low among the general population, noting that the bacteria is less contagious than viruses that cause the flu. Activities that can put people at risk of the disease include:

  • Smoking, including marijuana, cigarettes and hookah
  • Close contact with an infected person, including sharing beverages or cigarettes, kissing and coughing
  • Staying in group setting such as dorms, jails or shelters for extended periods

The infection can cause brain damage, hearing loss or potentially death. Symptoms can include fever, stiff neck, skin rash, severe headaches, low blood pressure and muscle pain. The disease spreads quickly, so fast diagnosis and treatment is "imperative," health officials said.

--City News Service


erik erikson April 05, 2014 at 09:07 AM
the problem is, you get to AHF and they have already run out. Michael Wienstien, the Director of AHF gives those sort of things to all his friend first just like the flu shot.

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