Chicago Health Department Urges Gay Men to Vaccinate Against Invasive Meningococcal Disease

In News by AHF

Four Cases of Rare Communicable Bacterial Disease Have Been Reported
Among Sexually Active
 Gay Men

LOS ANGELES (June 18, 2015) —The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently week confirmed four cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) among sexually active gay in the Chicago area and has issued a public health advisory urging men who have sex with men (MSM) to get vaccinated. IMD is a rare communicable bacterial disease that can cause bloodstream infections and meningitis, a severe disease of the brain and spinal cord that, if left untreated, can lead to death. IMD can be spread through close contact with saliva including kissing, sharing drinks or cigarettes. Symptoms of infection include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and a stiff neck.

The CDPH recommends that people with similar characteristics and their social and sexual networks be vaccinated. In particular:

  • MSM who are HIV-positive
  • MSM regardless of HIV status who use online apps such as Grindr, A4A, Scruff, Jack’d, etc.
  • MSM who have anonymous sex
  • Transgender women who are HIV-positive
  • Trans women (regardless of HIV status) who use online “hook up” apps
  • Trans women who have anonymous sex
  • Cis and transgender women who report intimate activities with MSM who are at high risk for IMD

Individuals can receive free meningococcal vaccinations at the AHF Healthcare Center, located at 2600 S. Michigan Ave., Suite LLD, 60616 by calling (312) 881-3050 for vaccines, appointments and more information. Vaccines will be offered during operating hours Mondays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. In addition, vaccinations will also be available at the following dates and times:

  • Saturday, June 20th from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: HIV Faith-Based Police Prayer Walk Event – 63rd and Vernon
  • Saturday, June 27th from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.: Roller Skating Party – 1122 East 87th Street
  • Sunday, June 28th from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.: PRIDE at Montrose – 4400 N. Lakeshore Drive
  • Tuesday, June 30th from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: South Side Help Center (773) 445-5445 – 10420 S. Halsted
  • Saturday July 4th: Black PRIDE Club Metro – 3730 N. Clark
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