New York: Health officials urge HIV positive men to get vaccinated against meningitis

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The New York City Health Department is advising for vaccinations against meningitis for any man who is HIV positive and has had intimate contact with men met through gay dating sites or in bars since 1 September 2012.

It’s after a spike in cases over the past few weeks.

Vaccines will be available starting today at medical facilities throughout the city for men who meet the criteria, but who cannot obtain it from their HIV care providers.

According to AIDS Med, Since 2010, there have been 13 cases of Neisseria meningitidis — the bacterium responsible for the disease, which causes high fever, headache, neck pain and a rash.

It can lead to life-threatening meningitis and pneumonia — four cases have occurred in New York City in the past five weeks.

All cases were men between 21 and 59 years of age and eight are HIV positive.

Four patients have died, three of whom were HIV positive.

The department says the outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease among HIV positive men in New York City is completely unrelated to the outbreak of meningitis in several US states caused by contaminated steroid medication.

A full list of vaccination locations can be found on the New York City Health Department website.