Sunday, August 2, 2015

CDPH Recommends That ALL MSM Be Vaccinated for Meningitis 


The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued that ALL gay, bisexual, queer and men who have sex with men (MSM) should be vaccinated for meningitis. Since mid-May, there have been six confirmed cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) including one death and a potential seventh case that yet to be confirmed. All of these infections have been among MSM.

IMD is a rare communicable bacterial disease that can cause meningitis, a severe disease of the brain and spinal cord, and other potentially fatal conditions. IMD is spread through intimate activities such as kissing and sexual contact or sharing drinks or cigarettes, smoking devices or marijuana. Common symptoms are fever, headache and a stiff neck. Other accompanying symptoms include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and confusion.

Also, roughly 10-15 percent of meningococcal disease die even with appropriate antibiotic treatment. Of those who recover, up to 20 percent suffer from some serious after-effects, such as permanent hearing loss, limb loss, or brain damage. One effective way to prevent IMD is by getting vaccinated for meningitis. And with Pride coming up, it’s crucial for more at-risk individuals to protect their own health and the health of our community.

So, do your part, and get vaccinated! Howard Brown Health Center is one of many CDPH partner sites offering free meningitis vaccinations. (Read a complete list of vaccination partner sites and which Pride events offering vaccines).


Call to Action: Help Spread the Word That Black MSM Are Disproportionately Impacted By IMD


While HBCH stands with the CDPH’s new recommendations that ALL MSM should be vaccinated for meningitis, we have joined forces with Affinity Community Services, Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus and Taskforce Prevention and Community Services to raise awareness that African-American gay, bisexual, same gender loving and queer men account for a majority of the six confirmed IMD cases. 

This call to action asks for individuals to use social media and word of mouth to help educate the community about this racial health disparity and to help encourage Black MSM to get vaccinated. It also asks for more organizations to reach out and collaborate with CDPH to be a more active force in the vaccination response. 

Will you join us? 


Introducing HBHC’s Walk-In Clinic Sliding Fee Scale!
The Sheridan Road Walk-In Clinic at Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) will provide a full range of comprehensive sexual health screenings on a sliding fee scale, instead of the current $95 flat fee.
What does this mean for you?
You can be tested for HIV/STIs for a fee that is based off self-reported income that won't break your bank. You can be charged as little as $0, up to $150. If cost is a barrier, we will still work with you to get you the services you need.
Which screenings are included?
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Hepatitis (A, B and/or C)
  • Herpes (only if symptoms are shown)
  • Tuberculosis
To broaden patient access even more, the Walk-In Clinic is available EVERY Saturday, instead of every other Saturday.
New hours include:
  • Walk-In Clinic; 4025 N. Sheridan Road (NO APPOINTMENT NEEDED): Monday-Thursday (noon - 7 pm); Friday 9 am - noon;1 pm - 4 pm; and every Saturday 9 am-2 pm.
FYI: Meningitis vaccinations are FREE and are available at the Walk-In Clinic too!

 This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).