Meningitis shots for all 1 million people attending NYC Gay Pride?

In a quote that’s going to raise some eyebrows, Dr. Jay Varma, the deputy commissioner for disease control in New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told NBC News that those attending the city’s upcoming Gay Pride celebration should consider getting vaccinated for a (relatively) new and deadly outbreak of meningitis.

More than one million people are expected to attend New York City’s Gay Pride festivities this year during the last weekend in June.

First the quote that Varma gave NBC, then a bit of background on the meningitis story.

“It would be reasonable for people traveling to New York City and participating in the events to talk to their doctors about whether or not they might benefit from vaccinations,” Dr. Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control in the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told NBCNews.com.

Varma sounds like he’s hedging, but this kind of hedging has been typical for the advisories that have been issued surrounding a particularly deadly strain of meningitis that has been targeting gay men, many with HIV, in the New York City area since 2010.  Meaning, this advisory is no less strong than pervious ones.

Meningitis via Shutterestock

Meningitis via Shutterestock

I’d written about this issue a good deal before.  Basically, for the past several years, a number of gay men in New York City have contracted a particularly deadly strain of meningitis.  While normal meningitis kills 1 in 5 people it infects, this strain kills 1 in 3.  And while the overall numbers of those infected sound small, according to disease experts, the numbers are troublingly high, and disconcertingly persistent.  On that last point, meningitis outbreaks tend to go away within a few days to a few weeks.  In this case, it’s been going on for several years.

Concern grew even further when several cases of meningitis showed up among gay men in Los Angeles too.

I did a long interview with an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Thomas Clark, about the recent meningitis outbreak.  In that interview, I get into the details of who should consider getting vaccinated, how (and how well) the vaccine works, how the disease is transmitted (via saliva from one person transmitted to the mouth of another), why gay people seem to be getting it (it’s not targeting them per se, but there are various reasons gay people might be more susceptible this time around), who the disease normally targets (college dorms and prisons), and more.  Rather than rehash all of that, please seem my earlier post.

One point I will make again about the disease is that it’s not something that’s easily spread.  You won’t get it from being near someone who sneezes.  You may, however, get it from someone coughing in your face, talking in your face and accidentally spitting, French kissing, etc.  The disease is passed by exchanging fluids in the mouth.  And you won’t get it simply by working alongside something at the office, but your chances are much higher if you live with a roommate who has the disease.  So there are a lot of important details that I get into in my other post.

Now back to the NYC health advisor.  The city and state had previously warned that any gay man who lives in or is visiting NYC, and who is sexually active, non-monogamous, and frequenting bars, parties, and online dating sites and apps, should consider getting vaccinated.  The problem is that that same warning naturally applies to anyone visiting Gay Pride in NYC.  Well, or at least it applies to gay men – there hasn’t been a warning to heterosexuals yet, that I know of (because this particular variant of the disease hasn’t been spreading there).  But whether or not you’re talking about every Pride attendee – one million of them – or only the gay male ones (easily several hundred thousand), that’s an awful lot of vaccines.  And while New Yorkers can get the vaccines for free, those of us in many other cities are less likely (mine cost me around $165 here in DC, and my insurance didn’t cover it).

At this point, all you can do is inform people.  Please do read my meningitis fact sheet for all the background on the disease and whether you should get vaccinated, wherever you like.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Oh hon, don’t let anger cloud your thinking. The designation MSM is used because there are some men who do not believe they are gay or bisexual even though they routinely have sex with men (think down-low). MSM is an umbrella term that includes those men.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    Wow. You’re such an angry person.

    How is the use of a vaccine to establish herd immunity “dehumanizing”? Makes no sense whatsoever. Vaccine the group the outbreak is occurring in and you end the outbreak.

    Also, this “YOU SAID THIS! YOU SAID THIS!” bullshit is getting old pretty quick.

    It doesn’t take an PhD to understand that social acceptance of gay men and women will lead towards social inclusion of gay men and women. By extension, it’s easy to see that said inclusion will naturally lead to more stable relationships and less, for lack of a better word, promiscuity. Has nothing to do with moral/immoral or good sex/bad sex. Promiscuity is not immoral. It just trends towards the less healthy given a greater chance of exposure towards financial stability found in a two-income home and exposure towards sexually transmitted pathogens.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    How is the use of vaccines to establish herd immunity “dehumanizing”?

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    I’m actually not. Let me say it in a more simple way: “As social acceptance towards gay men and women increase, so will the health of gay men and women.”

    I feel a natural outcome of increased social acceptance is social inclusion. Young gay men and women will be more driven by their family and friends towards monogamy and more stable relationships and the increased health benefits attached to those relationships.

    Currently, however, the level of social stigma does the exact opposite. Without support from family and friends, many gay couples find their relationships treated as temporary. Some even have said relationships sabotaged by “family” and “friends”, leading to more instances of sexual promiscuity which, while not immoral, is responsible for an increase in health problems.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    “I couldn’t care less what you knew at 12. Were you a smug little ass then too?”

    Yeah, I was. And you know what? I was well informed of what is common knowledge. How meningitis is transmitted is common knowledge.

    It is not homophobic in any way to suggest the target population of an outbreak (men who have intimate contact in other men they meet via online apps or at clubs/parties). Or it is age-ist to suggest young adults who are going to attend college be vaccinated for the same disease, knowing that the tight living quarters in college dorms is also an area where meningitis infections are more common?

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    Please. Just like NYDOH, we all know what happens during massive street celebrations like gay pride. There is plenty of intimate dancing, kissing, drinking, sharing glasses, sharing cigarettes, etc.

    All of these things are forms of potential transmission. Recommending vaccination, while currently too late in the game for anyone attending the parade, is a good mechanism to get folks vaccinated and end this unfortunate outbreak that is impacting gay men in NYC before it becomes more serious.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    What a lovely dehumanizing characterization from the pig who has declared that gay men need to be “driven”–like cattle?–toward the glorious world of heteronormativity.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    He did not “misread” you, you pompous ass. Perhaps you misstated. As he said, he quoted you, specifically your right-wing declaration that gay men need to be “driven” toward heteronormativity. Cut the fucking arrogance. No one made you fucking Queen of the Gays.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Like going to a parade? NYDOH seems to think that is a mode of transmission now. Being near “the gay.”

    I couldn’t care less what you knew at 12. Were you a smug little ass then too?

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Why are you linking to the CDC in trying to defend NYDOH, which is who *I* criticized? Now NYDOH has added transmission via presence at a parade.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    No I didn’t misread, I quoted you directly. You are a ‘ look straight, mainstream assimilation advocate. This sounds very much like a version of cure the gay therapy.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’m soooo glad I didn’t say Main Stream Media.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    It would, however, be useful in establishing herd/group immunity in a few months.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    You misread. I’ll restate:

    By fighting for and achieving social acceptance, gay men will be less likely to engage in higher risk sexual behaviors that coincide with HIV transmission.

    AKA… in the future, when there is no strong need for “coming out” and certainly no social rejection, gay men will lead healthier lives with healthier relationships, less prone towards depression and, by extension, drug and alcohol abuse: three significant factors that I would argue lead towards higher-risk sexual encounters.

    Instead of being rejected and having no one to talk to about sex and sexuality, parents and adult figures will be more open in passing on accurate information to young gay men who are, at this point in time, absent the knowledge of safer sex because all they get in school and at home is the heterosexual perspective.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    really, Skeptic? From the initial announcement of this outbreak a while back, it has been pretty clear that while sex is a mode of transmission for bacterial meningitis, so is kissing and sharing glasses or eating utensils.

    I’ve known about the mode of transmission for bacterial meningitis since I was twelve. What’s everyone else’s excuse? For those with an internet connection, access to a nurse or doctor, or a school or public library, it takes all of twenty seconds to figure out how this known disease is transmitted.

  • Sweetie

    An outdated medical classification that smears all gay men as being rabid sex fiends who have unprotected bukkake/fisting orgies in basements.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    They pointed out that those who contract the bacteria and develop symptoms have one thing in common: they used online apps or met at parties/clubs/bars and had intimate contact with a potential carrier.

    That’s pretty clear…. Not sure why the author had to call the CDC. It’s all right here:

    http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    I’m sorry, but the point still stands. There is a such thing as too much hysteria. At this point in time, with communication and technology being so incredibly developed when compared with the 70’s to the point where it is instantaneous, hysteria incites fear and misinformation instead of knowledge and understanding.

    While everyone is panicking and calling something a ‘dangerous viral epidemic’, they fail to see that it is ‘an outbreak of a particularly dangerous strain of bacterial meningitis’.

    When people panic and create hysteria about a nuclear reactor in Japan, what happens? Everyone at no risk for radiation exposure buys up the entire country’s supply of potassium iodide.

    The information is out there. We’re not talking about an incurable virus like HIV, which, I would agree with you, failed to garner any justifiable attention from health officials in the 70’s and 80’s.

    When discussing this meningitis outbreak, however, the information is out there with a vaccine available enough to establish herd immunity and prevent any subsequent transmission from the symptom-less carriers.

    I would say the same if and when an HIV vaccine is developed: everyone does not need the vaccine. Once enough people are vaccinated, herd immunity will be established and the virus will vanish.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ” by establishing social acceptance in such a way where gay men are more
    driven towards monogamy, family, marriage, etc. and, inevitably, the
    health benefits associated with those social structures.” You nitwit. I can’t believe you just wrote that. We have been fighting for generations for diversity and you think putting on socially acceptable straight face is going to make Gay OK?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If you are not ‘old’ enough to remember HIV/AIDS, then you have no business twitting over semantics.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thom, thank you for your persistent and factual advice about this terrible disease.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    And for God’s sake don’t accept glasses of water from well meaning church groups.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Worse AIDS funding has been drastically reduced at the local level.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If you had told me this in the 70’s I would have decked you. I recall clearly ‘gay cancer’ for which hysteria was totally justified. And, being at ground zero I clearly recall the few dozen cases that appeared at first. Take your ‘herd immunity’ and shove it!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    This is all good sensible information, but I do have some difficulty envisioning the elderly getting BJ’s at a Pride Parade.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s easy to solve, we’ll just wear bird beaks stuffed with herbs and that should do the trick!

  • Naja pallida

    Typically takes at least two weeks for antibodies to be built up to peak levels, and then they disappear within a couple months of not being re-exposed to the virus. Generally you want a vaccination a minimum of ten days before potential exposure, but for anyone at risk… getting it is probably better than not getting it. If even just for future exposure.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Becca is aware of all that, you condescending ass, but only because John went over the head of NYDOH and got some actually useful information from the CDC.

    Shrieking to a million people that they are at risk of death from merely attending a pride parade treats gays as a toxin and is outrageously bigoted and stupid. It’s too bad that you have some bizarre compulsion to defend it.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    When the deputy commissioner of NYDOH tells a million people that they’re at risk of death if they attend a pride parade, that is an outrageously bigoted reaction that basically treats gays ourselves as the toxic agents. But, by all means, keep running around defending every homophobic peep out of NYDOH.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Shrieking about gay dating apps = “gay fucking”
    That’s all NYDOH had to say until push back from people like John, who had to track down somebody at CDC to get some useful information. I’d say when everybody is led to believe that the method of transmission is sex when it isn’t, NYDOH did an appalling pathetic job of informing people. NYDOH has just preferred to shriek that the gay causes death. Now we’re told that attending a parade in the vicinity of faggots causes death. Useless. Ridiculous. Bigoted.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Then, yes, it is already too late.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Where is the part where attending a parade causes the disease? Because what NYC just shrieked is that attending a pride parade is life-threatening.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Not one letter of which justifies a shrieking attack on the pride parade itself as some kind of life-risking endeavor for anyone who attends. Instead of USEFUL information about how the disease is transmitted, we get a shrieking, homophobic declaration that anybody who steps anywhere near any gathering of faggots is at risk of death. It’s hysterical, out-of-control, and utterly bigoted.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Men who have sex with men.

  • nicho

    What is an MSM

  • Thom Allen

    Cases of
    meningococcal meningitis in the US have been DECREASING for the past
    few years EXCEPT for MSMs. The incidence of meningitis in all groups is
    about 0.6 cases per 100,000 persons (i.e. 6 people get meningitis out
    of a million). Since 2010, 22 cases of meningitis in MSM have been
    REPORTED to the NYC DOH. Remember, that’s only the number of people who
    were diagnosed. It’s not always easy to diagnose meningitis. Plus, it
    is rapidly fatal in many cases. People could have easily died from
    meningitis in their homes and the diagnosis was never suspected. The
    above statistics indicate the incidence of meningitis among MSMs is
    about 50 TIMES HIGHER for MSMs than non-MSMs. And the subpopulation of
    MSMs who get it most frequently are HIV+ and/or ones who use gay dating
    apps, go to clubs and bars, etc.

  • Thom Allen

    Probably not. Getting vaccinated at Pride would be too late to prevent contracting the disease while there.

  • Thom Allen

    It’s not a declaration, it’s a public health statement made by several public health departments and in a journal article in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Previous to those, it was reported by the CDC on its site and also in its publication “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” It’s NOT being treated as a gay disease because it isn’t a gay disease. It has a much, much higher incidence in MSMs and, therefore, prevention is geared to this group.

  • Thom Allen

    “They” havae never mentioned “gay fucking” except to say that this is not a sexually transmtted disease. The modes of transmission HAVE been explained clearly, many times by NYDOH, CDC, John, SF DOH, Toronto DOH, media sites, NYS Health Department, meningitis.org, NIH, etc.

  • Thom Allen

    “They” suggest discussing the idea of vaccination with one’s doctor and making a decision. “They” are not demanding that anyone be vaccinated, this is low -key, informational. They HAVE clearly listed at risk groups: MSM (gays, bis, guys on the downlow who don’t consider themselves gay or bi) who use apps, frequent bars and clubs, have intimate oral contact, share eating utensils, drink from shared cups or glasses, etc. and HIV+ men.

  • Thom Allen

    Depends. There’s some degree of variablity in onset of antibody production. Elderly, immunocompromised, taking immunosuppressant meds, etc. generally have a slower response. Some people start producing measurable antibody within days post-vaccination. Others may take two weeks or longer.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    My concern is the long standing habit of kissing hello among MSM. Two weeks ago, I did a quick visit to some friends in NYC. Then I went to visit friends and family in Herndon, VA. We spent two evenings in DC. It was so very common to kiss hello everywhere. I didn’t have sex with anyone, but I could have been passing around some bacteria. Maybe it’s just my generation who kisses hello, but I’m calling the doctor in the morning, so I can be vaccinated.

  • Thom Allen

    Cases of meningococcal meningitis in the US have been
    DECREASING for the past few years EXCEPT for MSMs. The incidence of
    meningitis in all gtoups is about 0.6 cases per 100,000 persons (i.e. 9
    people get meningitis out of a million). Since 2010, 22 cases of
    meningitis in MSM have been REPORTED to the NYC DOH. Remember, that’s
    only the number of people who were diagnosed. It’s not always easy to
    diagnose meningitis. Plus, it is rapidly fatal in many cases. People
    could have easily died from meningitis in their homes and the diagnosis
    was never suspected. The above statistics indicate the incidence of
    meningitis among MSMs is about 50 TIMES HIGHER for MSMs than non-MSMs.
    And the subpopulatioin of MSMs who get it most frequently are HIV+
    and/or ones who use gay dating apps, go to clubs and bars, etc. The
    average age of the men who died is about 34, reminiscent of the HIV
    epidemic in its early days. Tests show that the rate of carriage (those
    who harbor N. meningitidis in their throats and do NOT become ill) of
    Neisseria meningitidis is> 40% in MSMs. So, with the influx of
    visitors, some of whom will want to have sex and will use apps and bars
    to find partners, there is an increased rish that meningitis will
    reappear. NYC DOH is recommending that attendees talk to their doctors
    to see if they should be vaccinated. Public health depts in other
    cities (like Toronto and SF) are recommending that gay travelers to NYC
    get the vaccine. An article, published yesterday in Annals of internal
    Medicine makes the same recommendation.

  • Thom Allen

    “If passing by a total stranger at an outdoor public event is a huge
    risk, so is living or working near the same stranger.” That’s completely untrue. Hospital personnel work in the rooms of bacterial meningitis pattients without becoming infected by them. Transmission occurs by SHARING things contaminated by the infected person’s saliva. Attributing meningitis transmission to just “passing by” is fantasy. Cases of meningococcal meningitis in the US have been DECREASING for the past few years EXCEPT for MSMs. The incidence of meningitis in all gtoups is about 0.6 cases per 100,000 persons (i.e. 9 people get meningitis out of a million). Since 2010, 22 cases of meningitis in MSM have been REPORTED to the NYC DOH. Remember, that’s only the number of people who were diagnosed. It’s not always easy to diagnose meningitis. Plus, it is rapidly fatal in many cases. People could have easily died from meningitis in their homes and the diagnosis was never suspected. The above statistics indicate the incidence of meningitis among MSMs is about 50 TIMES HIGHER for MSMs than non-MSMs. And the subpopulatioin of MSMs who get it most frequently are HIV+ and/or ones who use gay dating apps, go to clubs and bars, etc. The average age of the men who died is about 34, reminiscent of the HIV epidemic in its early days. Tests show that the rate of carriage (those who harbor N. meningitidis in their throats and do NOT become ill) of Neisseria meningitidis is> 40% in MSMs. So, with the influx of visitors, some of whom will want to have sex and will use apps and bars to find partners, there is an increased rish that meningitis will reappear. NYC DOH is recommending that attendees talk to their doctors to see if they should be vaccinated. Public health depts in other cities (like Toronto and SF) are recommending that gay travelers to NYC get the vaccine. An article, published yesterday in Annals of internal Medicine makes the same recommendation.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Try having the guts to just make your points without all the “I might suggest” bullshit.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I thought this wasn’t a gay disease? Make up your fucking mind. NYC is sure as hell acting like it is.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    No, the NYC health department has been the OPPOSITE of clear. They have been completely vague and non-specific. John had to track down and interview someone from the CDC to get basic answers about transmission because all the NYC department could do is screech about GAY dating apps. How about instead of implying that it’s all about gay fucking, they actually explain what the fucking modes of transmission actually are?

    You’re wallowing in the same homophobic bigotry as Varma. I wasn’t aware that everyone attending a pride parade fucked like animalistic bunnies with strangers. Drinking? Gee, that doesn’t happen anywhere in NYC in any venue in any situation other than a gay pride parade, does it? I’m sick and tired of this bigotry from the NYC health department.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    We kind of just said the same thing, although I was going for a 50k overall HIV infection rate across the board (it is, after all, not an exclusively gay problem). Also, it’s important to note that the numbers aren’t adjusted to the population growth. More people died in 2013 than in 50CE.

    Not only are there 75 million more people in this country, but there are also more gay men who aren’t hiding in heterosexual relationships, thus more male-male sexual activity across the board. I would say that combining the population increase with the fact that those with HIV are living longer and you’ll end up with a roughly equivalent normalized rate from year to year. Hardly an accomplishment, if you’ll agree with me.

    “Yes, people are living longer, but this has not resulted in fewer infections, sadly.” My point was the opposite. Because men with HIV are living longer, there are more and more instances where HIV positive men transmit the virus to HIV negative partners.

    I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss LGBT rights organizations. One substantial aspect of HIV transmission is exclusion of gay men from normal social romantic templates. Because many are hiding due to social stigma, it is true that they seek out sex in private – more often than not hastily and involving drugs and alcohol.

    Lifting that social stigma, which most gay rights organizations are doing, helps across the board by establishing social acceptance in such a way where gay men are more driven towards monogamy, family, marriage, etc. and, inevitably, the health benefits associated with those social structures.

    Steady HIV infection rates in the last 20 years, in my mind, aren’t a problem of behavior, per say, but a symptom of social stigma.

  • Julien Pierre

    Your numbers of 50k a year since the mid 1990s are wrong.

    You may want to look at this :

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/images/HivFactSheets/ProgressNewinfections.jpg

    There are more infections today than in 1994-1996, 1997-1999, 2000-2002 .

    Yes, people are living longer, but this has not resulted in fewer infections, sadly.

    Many people still go undiagnosed or are diagnosed without treatment.

    And I think there is a perception that HIV is not a problem anymore because there are meds, and people are not having safe sex as much as they used to.

    No argument from me that we need to pour resources into gay-inclusive sex education. It just doesn’t seem that the top gay organizations like HRC care about HIV much these days.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    It takes five seconds to determine how and why this infection spreads. They’ve made it quite clear: who is turning up in the hospitals with the infections, how they believe they caught it, how it is spread, who should be vaccinated, and how to get information on vaccination. There are even a few doctors going to clubs and parties in NYC offering free vaccinations on site.

    It isn’t homophobic to suggest vaccination before attending a festival that is known for big parties, plenty of drinking (sharing glasses is a method of transmission), and anonymous hookups….

    The concern isn’t the small number of people over the few years this outbreak has happened. In my mind, the concern is that the outbreak is still happening and may result in a drug-resistant, particularly lethal strain of bacterial meningitis leaving the near-exclusive NYC boarders and traveling to other cities.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    Semantics. I would argue that HIV/AIDS has become all but invisible. I would also argue that new HIV infections are “up significantly”. In fact, the rate of new infections has been near steady since the mid 90’s at roughly 50k a year.

    I might suggest that while the number of individuals who are practicing near-safe sex is on the incline, the numbers remain steady because those infected with HIV are living longer lives and transmitting the virus, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

    Unless an incredibly substantial amount of resources are poured into sex education that is gay-inclusive (won’t happen in non-liberal states/communities), testing is adopted as a routine for all physicals, and a social transformation of acceptance and open discussion happens, these infection rates will undoubtedly remain the same until a vaccine is discovered.

  • Julien Pierre

    Perhaps you should have written “the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic” instead.

    HIV infections are up significantly in our community and the complacency around it is very disheartening. I’m one who is living with it and I can’t believe how little visibility the issue has nowadays. I am all for marriage equality, but HIV/AIDS has become all but invisible despite its resurgence.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    You of course knew that I meant ‘Not old enough’ to remember the onslaught of the HIV epidemic, when gay men were dying left and right in the 80’s. If I were twenty years older, I, myself, would perhaps be among them.

    You’re correct about HIV/AIDS now, as well. It is still a significant problem, but not as significant given more knowledge and management.

  • Julien Pierre

    Not old enough to remember the HIV/AIDS epidemic ?

    It is far from over, sadly.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well in NYC it is related by geography, gay, male, often HIV but not always, and by how the people met (parties, online apps, bars). Anyway, it’s all in the other post, but yeah this one is odder since it’s a virtual community as I believe the guy at the CDC called it – usually it hits a college dorm, or a prison. Not a community in multiple neighborhoods.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Or worse than hysteria: destruction of their credibility, which they’re rapidly achieving.

    A handful of cases and they’re screeching for a million people to get a vaccine if they’re going to be anywhere near any faggots without ever specifying who should get a vaccine, why, or how the infection spreads. Useless. Ridiculous. Insulting. Homophobic. And IGNORED.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yes, they are having a gay-bashing meltdown at the health department. STAY AWAY FROM ANY OUTDOOR EVENT WITH FAGGOTS…THEY’RE DEADLY!

  • Skeptical Cicada

    They also say they aren’t treating it like a gay disease and then have an absurd declaration that a million people attending a gay pride parade should be vaccinated because faggots will be there. Any other vaccinations for any other mass public events in NYC where the faggots might also show up? Screw them.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Their credibility is rapidly evaporating. If passing by a total stranger at an outdoor public event is a huge risk, so is living or working near the same stranger. They’ve obviously flipped a THIS IS A FAGGOT DISEASE switch, and are having a homophobic meltdown.

  • nicho

    Isn’t it already too late? It takes several weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

  • nicho

    The only difference is that syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease and meningitis is not. Do don’t need to have sex with someone to get meningitis from them. In other words, if a straight person comes in close contact with an infected person, they could get it. So, it’s a community transmitted disease.

  • Hue-Man

    I don’t want to pile on but Vancouver seems to be a canary in the coal mine for these infections in the gay community. This month: “After hovering on the brink of eradication in the 1990s, syphilis has
    soared to an historic high among gay and bisexual men in Vancouver.” http://www.theprovince.com/news/Syphilis+outbreak+Vancouver+reaches+epidemic+proportions/8489328/story.html

    Blame single-payer health-care for tracking data on infectious diseases…

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    Mike, you’re correct. This particularly lethal strain of bacterial meningitis responsible for the outbreak in NYC (starting in 2003), is treated with intravenous antibiotics.

    Unfortunately, since the initial symptoms are flu-like, most patients arrive at the hospital long after the onset of meningitis, where all the antibiotics in the world can’t treat in time to reduce swelling of the meninges and ultimate death as a result of said swelling.

    I just corrected you on the difference between viral and bacterial because… well… if people are going to have the information, it should be as correct as possible.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    This is why I continue to take issue with the “gay community only” nature of these warnings. This meningitis isn’t an STD and can be spread through near-casual contact.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Of course, you’re correct. I’m certain they treat the actual disease with antibiotics. That would have no affect on a virus.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    Karmanot,

    There is a such thing as too much hype, particularly if hype creates hysteria. This is not an epidemic. It is an outbreak. We’re talking small numbers: 13 cases last year compared to 4 cases the year before.

    This can be resolved if enough people get vaccinated and herd immunity is established.

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    Yeah. Agreed. Two friends of friends have died because of this. That’s two too many and way too close for comfort.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Millions of us were. Now, only thousands of us remember ground zero.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    Mike, it isn’t viral. It’s bacterial.

    Acoolerclimate, if you’re just going to watch the parade outdoors, chances are you’ll be fine. Just don’t share glasses with strangers. That’s usually a given for most people.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I remember. It seemed as if my husband and I spent most of the 80s being sad.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Excellent post post John. It can’t be too hyped that this may be a major epidemic.

  • http://www.fightingforcake.com RJ

    While not old enough to remember the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I understand the health ramifications of a meningitis outbreak. While not an STD, it is an incredibly scary disease.

    I’m surprised they haven’t yet been able to deduce a definitive source. It’s odd that the same strain is creeping up in otherwise unrelated circumstances. I don’t consider hooking up at parties or via apps “related” unless they all happen to be in the same location.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You don’t need to hook up with someone to get meningitis. Sharing a drink, cigarette, or joint could do it, but there has to be an exchange of fluids. The virus is in saliva. A kiss could do it.

  • Indigo

    Scary. I remember too well those last few years of the 70s when there was a sudden increase in STDs and that incomprehensible “gay flu” that wiped out nearly an entire gay subculture.

  • acoolerclimate

    Are they saying only the visitors to Pride that hook up with someone else at Pride, or anyone who just goes to watch the parade? This is so confusing……

  • Drew2u

    will there be Meningitis and/or HPV vaccine tents for attendees?

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