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Free meningitis vaccines to be offered following West Hollywood death

April 14, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Free meningitis vaccines will be offered starting Monday following the recent death of a West Hollywood attorney from meningococcal disease.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will be offering the vaccines to anyone who believes they're at risk or may have been exposed to the disease.

You can get the vaccines at AHF Pharmacy locations in Hollywood and West Hollywood and AHF's Hollywood Men's Wellness Center.

AHF Pharmacy - Sunset/Hollywood
6210 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 860-0173
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

AHF Pharmacy - West Hollywood
8212 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 654-0907
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

AHF Hollywood Men's Wellness Center
1300 N. Vermont Ave. Ste. 407
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 661-0643
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

The free vaccines are in response to several deadly cases of meningitis among men who have sex with men.

Brett Schaad, an openly gay man, went to the emergency room Wednesday. He slipped into a coma a day later and was declared brain dead.

Schaad became ill after he attended the White Party, which is held annually in Palm Springs. The gathering over Easter weekend attracted thousands of gay men from across the country.

Local health officials then issued a warning to sexually active gay men amid concern that a strain of the disease was possibly linked to an outbreak of bacterial meningitis that claimed the lives of seven gay men in the New York City area.

"We cannot say at this point that we have an outbreak in Los Angeles but we know that this disease is serious, deadly, and can spread relatively easily," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation."

Schaad's family removed the 33-year-old from life support Saturday night.

Health officials say bacterial meningitis can be spread by sexual activity and kissing, but not by casual contact. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and confusion.

Meningococcal disease is fatal in about 10 percent of cases, but is preventable with a vaccination.


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