If you’re a man who’s had “intimate contact with another man” whom you met on the Internet, the New York City Health Department recommends that you get a meningitis vaccination following a recent spike in the rare/potentially fatal disease.
In addition to Internet rendezvous, the Health Department says that any man who’s had intimate contact with another man he met at a bar, party or via-a mobile app should also get the vaccine.
If you have HIV and fall under any of the aforementioned categories, the Health Department says you run an even higher risk of contacting the disease.
All four of the men — between the ages of 31 and 42 — who contracted the disease are HIV positive, which the Health Department says puts them at a much greater risk than the general population.
The disease spreads by “prolonged close contact with nose or throat discharges from an infected person. Examples of prolonged contact include living in the same household or intimate activities, including kissing and sexual contact.”
Symptoms of meningitis include high fever, headache, stiff neck and rash that develop rapidly within two days. The Health Department says that people who have been in prolonged close contact with infected people need to see their health care provider immediately to receive preventive antibiotics.
Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days.
The Health Department is offering free vaccines at the following hospitals:
– Jacobi Medical Center
– Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
– Coney Island Hospital
– Kings County Hospital Center
– Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center
– Bellevue Hospital Center
– Harlem Hospital Center
– Elmhurst Hospital Center
– Queens Hospital Center
To find an HIV care provider or location to get a vaccine call 311. For more information search “Meningitis” at www.nyc.gov.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 5, 2012