May 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm EDT | by Staff reports
West Hollywood campaign targets meningitis

West Hollywood, gay news, Washington BladeLOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, criticized recently for not responding aggressively enough to an outbreak of meningitis among gay men, has just launched a campaign called “Stop Before You Swap” to educate gay men on how the disease is transmitted, WEHOville, a gay West Hollywood news outlet, reports.

The campaign features a website that explains, “swapping spit (saliva) increases your risk for meningitis/meningococcal disease.” It notes that the disease can be transmitted by sharing drinks and cigarettes as well as a kiss with someone infected, the WEHOville article said.

“Educating the public is always very important. We want to use as many ways to do that as it appropriate,” said Jonathan Fielding, the county’s public health director. “This is part of our broader campaign , particularly in advance of the Pride events.”

The health department revealed in April that three young men, all ages 27 or 28 and with connections to West Hollywood or North Hollywood, died of meningitis. It said that 11 of the 32 cases of meningitis in Los Angeles County in the 18 months leading up to April had involved gay men, WEHOville reports.

The health department was criticized by Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, for not reporting the infections and deaths earlier.

Vaccines are available for the strain.

  • The Meningitis Foundation of America offers extensive information regarding diagnosis, immunization, recovery and the after effects of meningitis. MFA survives primarily by donations. For the past 16 years, we have assisted people through support groups, resources and advocacy in efforts to help those affected with meningitis overcome and those around them understand the journey ahead. We promote prevention and safety measure in at risk communities and help explain the short term, long term effects and recovery treatments of meningitis to the media and public at large. Meningitis is a dangerous & often times fatal infection that can lead to serious life-long physical problems and even death. We are here to provide emotional support to those who need it; please feel free to reach out to us at
    Caroline L. Petrie
    National Secretary
    Meningitis Foundation of America, Inc.
    World Meningitis Day 24 April

    We want to ask this country and you if they have the heart of a lion! Let's see if we can come together as a community and step up to the plate and put an end to this horrible disease. Our goal is to help as many people as we can and raise money to go to the Meningitis Foundation of America. We are trying to raise as much awareness about this disease so no one has to suffer from the horrible side effects. We are hoping all of America comes together to help eradicate this disease.

  • This particular article talks about gay men and the increased risk of meningococcal disease. If you are a gay man or frequent gay bars then you should talk to your health care provider about meningococcal vaccination, ASAP.

    Be advised meningitis does not stop at the dorm room door or in anyone one community of people. No matter what community of people it starts in, it can spread to any/all communities under the right circumstances.

    As the article states above "The disease can be transmitted by sharing drinks and cigarettes as well as a kiss with someone infected." Do you go to bars or practice these activities?

    I am the mother of an only child, Ryan, who died from of meningococcal meningitis. Ryan was not gay nor living in a college dorm. However at age 18, he became ill with a fever and earache and within 14 hours, he had blood coming from every orifice of his body and he died.

    I am not only Ryan's mom, I the founder and executive director of a national organization, Meningitis Angels,

    Too many infants, teens, kids and young adults are left debilitated or die from this vaccine preventable disease.

    What is meningitis?
    Meningitis is a dangerous and sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord that can leave survivors with serious life-long physical problems such as, organ failure, blindness, deafness, loss of limbs, severe seizures, brain damage and other disabilities.

    Signs and Symptoms of meningitis and meningococcemia.
    These may include unrelenting fever, leg pain, cold hands and feet and abnormal skin color and can develop within (12 hours) after infection long before the more classic signs of the illness such as a rash, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light and impaired consciousness, debilitation or death.

    Anyone can get meningitis especially infants, children, teens, young adults or those individuals who are immune compromised.

    What parents and students should know:
    According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) ACIP/CDC children ages 11 through college freshmen age should be vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis.

    I personally believe the best way to accomplish this is by strong middle school entrance vaccination requirements with the booster at age 16 or before graduation of high school.

    Some of the current vaccines are FDA approved for ages (2) months.

    Please be informed, there are (5) sero-groups of the disease, all sero-groups are not covered. However the most common in the United States among adolescents and college students is sero-group C and Y, which are.

    For more detailed information on this and any vaccine preventable disease visit;

    Frankie Milley, Meningitis Angels, Founder/National Director

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2018. All rights reserved.
Blade Blast

Get the latest LGBTQ news to your inbox every Thursday!