The Body (10.04.12)
Aids Weekly Plus
The New York City Health Department recently issued recommendations for vaccinating against meningitis after an increase in the number of reported cases over the past five weeks. The department is advising vaccinations for any man who is HIV positive and has had intimate contact with another man met through a website, digital application, or at a bar or party since September 1, 2012. The vaccine will become available on October 5, 2012, at medical facilities throughout the city for men who meet these criteria and cannot obtain the vaccine from their HIV care providers.
This outbreak of meningitis among HIV-positive men in New York City is completely unrelated to the outbreak of meningitis in several states that is caused by a contaminated medication.
The vaccination prevents, but does not treat the current infection. Common symptoms of meningitis—high fever, headache, stiff neck, and rash—develop rapidly upon onset. Symptoms occur 2 to 10 days after exposure, but more usually within 5 days. Individuals who are HIV-positive and who experience these symptoms should seek medical assistance immediately.
The vaccine is best given as part of regular medical care for HIV infection, so patients should first check with their medical care provider to find out if they have had the vaccine. If the provider does not have the vaccine, individuals should visit one of the HIV clinics at select New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation sites. For two months, these clinics will waive their co-pay requirements for those who have insurance. The Health Department’s clinics will be able to administer the vaccine for those who cannot obtain a vaccine from their medical providers or a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporations clinic.
To find an HIV care provider or location to get a vaccine call 311. For more information search “Meningitis” at www.nyc.gov.