Get Vaccinated Before Having Sex With Gay Men In L.A.

As a result of the recent meningitis outbreaks in West Hollywood, San Francisco’s Department of Public Health is recommending gay men in the Bay Area get the meningococcal vaccination seven to 10 days prior to having sex with gay men from Los Angeles.

The warning comes in response to an April 2 announcement from the L.A. County Department of Public Health that said eight people had been infected with invasive meningoccal disease since January. Four of those eight were gay men, and three of those four, ages 27 and 28, died of the disease.

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health reports no cases of meningitis involving gay men in the city since 2011. The L.A. County Health Department, however, says there have been 11 reported cases of meningitis involving gay men in Los Angeles County in the past 18 months.

Meningitis is spread by very close exposure to sneezing and coughing, or direct contact with saliva or nose mucus, as well as sex. Common symptoms include a stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, severe headache, and vomiting. Rash may also occur. The symptoms usually develop within three to seven days of infection, but can take as long as 10 days to become present.

Get all the facts about meningitis here.

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  • Tookietookie123

    Great, yet another STD for me to be irrationally afraid of.

  • tardis

    @Tookietookie123: You are aware that proper precautions halts the spread of diseases, right?

  • Shofixti

    @tardis: Really?…. What is the proper precaution for this?

    “How is it transmitted?
    It is transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions. Close contact—such as kissing, sneezing or coughing on someone, or living in close quarters with an infected person—facilitates the spread of the disease.”

  • LandStander

    @Shofixti: “Really?….What is the proper precaution for this?

    Oh gee, I don’t know… Maybe a meningococcal vaccination? You know, what the whole article was about…

  • MUSAorg

    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 http://www.musa.org.
    Caroline L. Petrie
    National Secretary
    Meningitis Foundation of America, Inc.
    World Meningitis Day 24 April

  • PozSince1985

    @Tookietookie123: It’s not an STI. It is a fairly normal disease that is spread by close contact. The recommendation to get vaccinated is because it is showing up in the gay community.

    If Influenza was suddenly running rampant through the gay community, the warning would be to get your annual flu shot. This is no different.

    The assumption that because it is affecting the Gay community, it must be an STI is pretty darn close to internalized homophobia.

  • lpmt

    If you are ever going to sleep with a man by the name of Locke Webster in Los Angeles, make sure you have been vaccinated.

  • michael mellor

    Meningitis can be caught from anyone. There is no need for the SF Dept of Public Health to specify sexuality. In fact, it’s stupid. It’s also homophobic.

  • Ben Dover

    @michael mellor: (1) Technically correct, but…

    (2) I don’t even live in a particularly “gay” area, however all my friends are gay guys and 90% of the people I interact with closely in the course of, say, a week, are gay. If I caught the flu I’m guessing it would most likely be from a gay guy.

    So I think it’s perfectly reasonable to warn people in a “gay ghetto” like West Hollywood about an airborne &/or close-proximity hazard like this.

    Maybe you’re safe because you live on a mountaintop and never associate with other gay people?

    Or maybe meningitis causes poor reading comprehension? The article says it’s not SF doing that, it’s LA.

  • thezak

    The Strategy… BEFORE sex get tested TOGETHER for A VARIETY of STDs then make an INFORMED decision, google tested together

  • jmmartin

    When I lived in California there was a popular graffito in the tea rooms of the bars: “S.F. is wicked, L.A. is evil.”

  • michael mellor

    You can catch meningitis from your mother. Should all mothers be vaccinated?

  • kgesq06

    I think that both the LA and SF health departments are being somewhat irresponsible here by limiting their recommendations for vaccination to MSM who are HIV+ and MSM who may engage in activities that would put them at higher risk of transmission, like sharing cigarettes/joints and/or other drugs (this, from their official advisories, which are easily found on their websites, in case anyone’s interested). As noted in the article and also in the public health advisories, this strain of meningitis “is transmitted by contact with spit, phlegm, mucus, or other fluids from the nose or mouth of someone who already has, or is in the process of developing, meningococcal disease. Typically this occurs from kissing, intimate or sexual contact, sneezing or coughing, living in a crowded space together, or sharing drinks, cigarettes or eating utensils with someone who is infected (who may not yet show signs of disease).” I may be wrong, but there are a hell of a lot of activities that have nothing to do with either sex or even being part of the gay community that can put someone at risk. (4 out of 8 people who got the virus were MSM, which, while disproportionate, still means half were not!)
    That’s not by any stretch to say that HIV+ MSM and MSM who may be at higher risk of transmission for any reason (sex-related or not) should ignore the advisory. I’m just saying that it seems to me that the advisory, based on its own facts, calls for a much wider population of folks getting vaccinated. Maybe it’s a money thing…I don’t know (though, if it were, I’d be surprised to see the $$$ to be flowing to HIV+ and drug-using MSM first, just based on history).
    And, Queerty, you managed to oversimplify this even worse, saying the vaccine advisory was ONLY about sex. This is public health, life and death – not Boy Toy of the Day (which, of course, has its place). It’s important to get this stuff right — that means as accurate and as thorough as possible with the information available. The info wasn’t great on this one, but you still could’ve done better than this.

    TL;DR: Read this instead: http://www.sfcdcp.org/document.html?id=866

  • Tookietookie123

    @tardis: I am aware, that’s why I said irrationally.

  • NodrogUK

    Some people are so sensitive they can see an implied slight against the “gay” community in almost anything they see, hear or read.
    Meningitis is a “human” disease – it does not care whether you are heterosexual or homosexual – anybody can be infected.
    Possibly there is a higher incidence of the disease in the gay community because there tend to be less “exclusive” relationships – especially amongst the younger gay males – i.e. promiscuity.
    More partners – more chance of catching an infection.

  • Shofixti

    @LandStander: Cheers, I think I misread him. At any rate, I was vaccinated long ago ^_^

  • frshmn

    I got shots as a kid, but apparently boosters are needed very 5 years? Im confused with the timeline, are some people possibly asymptomatic and have been carrying the disease for long period of time?

  • Desert Boy

    Men in Los Angeles aren’t lepers — contrary to the title of this Queerty piece. But meningitis is a serious, potentially fatal disease that can be prevented by a simple vaccination (sorry Jenny McCarthy).

    We’re so lucky to live in an era where a laundry list of diseases can be prevented.

Comments are closed.