Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bacterial meningitis killing gay men

I just read a story about a gay man in West Hollywood, CA who contracted meningitis and is now brain dead. He was fine one day, then became ill, hospitalized and now will most likely die.

I have read similar stories about gay men in New York City, as recent as last week. After looking up some information, seven gay men have died of meningitis since 2010. There are 13 reported cases of meningitis just this year in New York City. There seems to be an out break right now.

There is a vaccine.

"Although the vaccine can help prevent the disease, it is not used to treat it. Even if diagnosed early and treated with antibiotics, the disease can still sometimes cause permanent brain damage, hearing loss, kidney failure or even death." From an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

I am not a doctor. And I am just learning. But I feel I need to do my part as a gay blogger to get this word out.

If you are sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship, please read more about this and consider getting the vaccine.  The vaccine is 80-90% effective and in most cases one dose works. Those with HIV and some others may need two doses, over a period of a couple of months.

From what I have read, this can be spread through sex or even kissing.

In New York City, the city's health officials recently put out a warning. They have urged men who "regularly have intimate contact with other men" to get vaccinated for meningitis. 

This brings back memories of the 1980's to me. The difference is that for the cases reported, the cause of death is known. And most importantly, there is a vaccine.

This may just be a small outbreak. The fact that deaths have now occurred in areas with big gay male populations may or may not end up being very relevant. Yet, I just had to write about this.

Again, no medical background. All I have presented here came from reading articles online for the past hour or so. We must get the word out.

Please spread the word.

Thank you for reading!

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