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Desert AIDS Project Offers Free Meningococcal Vaccines

Anyone interested in being vaccinated should make an appointment for a Tuesday or Thursday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Desert AIDS Project's medical clinic is offering free vaccines in light of recent cases of meningitis in the Los Angeles area, a spokesman said Monday.

Anyone interested in being vaccinated should make an appointment for a Tuesday or Thursday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Desert AIDS Project spokesman Barry Dayton said. The clinic is at 1695 N. Sunrise Way in Palm Springs.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a health alert recommending meningococcal vaccination for all men who have "close or intimate contact with multiple partners," including those who have HIV.

Since Jan. 1, four new cases of meningococcal disease have been reported among men who have sex with men -- three of whom are HIV positive, according to Los Angeles health officials.

"Given our proximity to L.A., and with the White Party soon to happen here in Palm Springs, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect our local population," said Desert AIDS Project CEO David Brinkman. "Some may recall that there was a similar meningitis outbreak last April and D.A.P. had a similar response by offering free vaccines."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with HIV are at a higher risk of getting meningococcal disease, which is caused by a bacteria spread through exchange of respiratory and throat secretions, including kissing. The most familiar form is meningitis, which infects the lining of the brain and spinal cord; it causes flulike symptoms and can be fatal. The bacteria can also infect the bloodstream, according to the CDC.

Three of the four men infected since Jan. 1 reported living or socializing around West Hollywood and North Hollywood.

Public health officials recommended vaccination for men seeking partners online -- "particularly those who share cigarettes, marijuana, or illegal drugs."

For appointments, call (760) 323-2118 or go to www.desertaidsproject.org.

— City News Service.

Caroline L. Petrie April 16, 2014 at 08:27 AM
The Meningitis Foundation of America offers extensive information regarding diagnosis, immunization, recovery and the after effects of meningitis. MFA survives primarily by donations. For the past 16 years, we have assisted people through support groups, resources and advocacy in efforts to help those affected with meningitis overcome and those around them understand the journey ahead. We promote prevention and safety measure in at risk communities and help explain the short term, long term effects and recovery treatments of meningitis to the media and public at large. Meningitis is a dangerous & often times fatal infection that can lead to serious life-long physical problems and even death. We are here to provide emotional support to those who need it; please feel free to reach out to us at www.musa.org. Caroline L. Petrie National Secretary Meningitis Foundation of America, Inc. World Meningitis Day 24 April Educate~Vaccinate~Eradicate

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