Meningitis: AHF to Offer Free Vaccines

Press Teleconference: Sunday, April 14th   12:00pm PT

In response to lethal cases of bacterial meningitis among men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) that has affected men in Los Angeles and New York, AIDS Healthcare Foundation will offer free meningitis vaccines starting Monday, April 15th at its AHF Pharmacy locations in West Hollywood (8212 Santa Monica Blvd.) and Hollywood (6210 Sunset Blvd.) and its AHF Hollywood Men’s Wellness Center to anyone who thinks that they are at risk or have had exposure

 

WHAT: PRESS TELECONFERENCE

AHF to offer FREE MENINGITIS VACCINES in response to deadly meningitis cases among men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM)—Vaccine to be offered at AHF Pharmacy locations (West Hollywood and Hollywood) and AHF’s Hollywood Men’s Wellness Center

WHEN:  SUNDAY, April 14th   2013—-12:00pm (noon) Pacific Time 

Teleconference Dial in information: +1.877.411.9748 participant code #7134323

WHO: Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Hon. John Duran, Councilmember, West Hollywood City Council

Otto Yang, M.D., Scientific Director, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Parveen Kaur, M.D., Physician, AHF Healthcare Centers (pending)

CONTACTS:  Ged Kenslea AHF Sr. Dir. of Communications (323) 791-5526 cell

Lori Yeghiayan AHF Assoc. Dir. of Communications (323) 377-4312 cell

LOS ANGELES (APRIL 14, 2013)¾In response to recent cases of a potentially life-threatening type of bacterial meningitis that that has circulated in men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) in New York, infecting 13 individuals and killing seven there—and which has now left a Los Angeles man on life support—AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will host a PRESS TELECONFERENCE Sunday April 14, at 12 noon Pacific Time to announce that it will offer free meningitis vaccines starting Monday, April 15th at its AHF Pharmacy locations in West Hollywood (8212 Santa Monica Blvd.) and Hollywood (6210 Sunset Blvd.) and its AHF Hollywood Men’s Wellness Center (1300 N. Vermont Ave, Suite 407, Los Angeles 90027) to anyone who thinks that they are at risk or have had exposure. The vaccine protocol involves one dose for HIV negative individuals, and one plus a booster at eight weeks for HIV positive people.

Concern about possible exposure to, and transmission of bacterial meningococcal infection in the Greater Los Angeles MSM population arose after a 33 year-old West Hollywood resident was diagnosed with the infection which rapidly escalated and has left him on life support shortly after he attended the White Party, an annual gathering of thousands of gay men in Palm Springs over the Easter Weekend. On Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Health officials said they believe the outbreak in New York is circulating among men who have sex with men and that this particular strain may have been transmitted through intimate encounters.”

“As a public health outreach, AHF will now offer the meningitis vaccine for free at our Hollywood and West Hollywood AHF Pharmacy sites and at our Hollywood Men’s Wellness Center to anyone who thinks that they are at risk or have had exposure—particularly, those in the MSM population,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We are prepared to offer up to 10,000 vaccinations for free at these three AHF locations and will consider adding additional AHF sites should there be a need or demand. It is my hope that the Health Department of the County of Los Angeles and CDC will also step up to the plate long before we get to those levels, if there is found to be a need to do so.”

“The progression of this man’s infection from his likely exposure to his placement on life support demonstrates meningococcal meningitis can be a very rapid and deadly disease,” said Otto Yang, M.D., Scientific Director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation and an Infectious Diseases physician. “However, the chance of a large scale outbreak of this disease is relatively small, and getting infected usually requires close personal contact and exposure to body fluids of an infected person. Like the case of a healthy high school student in Palisades High school who died of meningococcal meningitis a couple of years ago, this is most likely one of the isolated cases that pop up in the US every year.  That said, this tragedy serves as a reminder that people who believe they are at risk should get the vaccine, which is very safe and effective, and prophylactic antibiotics if they may have had a significant recent exposure.  Persons at highest risk are those who have close exposures to many persons, such as students in dormitories or military personnel in barracks, and persons with weakened immune systems.  There is the precedent of an outbreak in MSM in New York, however.  With our outreach and free vaccinations, we want to promote caution and education, and prevent unnecessary concern or panic in the community.”

Ongoing Free Meningitis Vaccinations Available Only At:

  • AHF Hollywood Men’s Wellness Center
    1300 N. Vermont Ave., Suite 407, Los Angeles, CA , 90027
    Phone: P: (866) 339-2525
    Hours: Mon-Wed-Thu-Fri, 5:30pm to 9:00pm Saturday, 9:30am to 5:00pm

The AHF Pharmacy locations will no longer provide the vaccinations
PLEASE NOTE AHF MEN’S WELLNESS CENTER IS CLOSED ON TUESDAYS

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT AHF’s MENINGITIS VACCINE PROGRAM, PLEASE CALL:

  • Michael Zimmerman, Program Manager, AHF Hollywood Men’s Wellness Program
  • (323) 436-8900 x 5819
  • AHF Main Switchboard (323) 860-5200

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About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 215,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.

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