Desert AIDS Project Offers Free Meningococcal Vaccines - KMIR News | Palm Springs, California

Desert AIDS Project Offers Free Meningococcal Vaccines

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PALM SPRINGS, Ca. -

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 today.

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 flu like 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.

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