Friday, May 9, 2014



In what the Los Angeles Times is referring to as a meningitis outbreak in L.A.'s gay community, since January 1 there have been eight occurrences of invasive meningococcal disease in L.A. County. Four of those cases have been of gay men, and three of those four have died, officials reported Thursday.

*  Special thanks to "Google Images", "LA Weekly", "Los Angeles Times", "CNN",
and  ""

by Felicity Blaze Noodleman
Los Angeles, CA
5. 9.14

A few weeks ago an article appeared in the "LA Weekly" which was beyond belief.  It's very hard to write about a subject that makes you so scared and angry, a subject which shakes you to the very core of your being, especially when this problem is so preventable.  It is a subject which is a threat to your health and well being but we will try to get a grip on the problem and write as objectively about the issues.

Public health officials are seeing a rise in cases of Meningitis and Syphilis in Gay Communities across the US and not just in LA and San Francisco but in NYC and Miami - in fact all large city's in the country could be effected.  We are not experts in the field of health care but we do want to alert our readers about the problem.  As usual we are posting our information and sources.

It is not surprising that since the AIDS became the number one health issue in the gay community that other diseases would soon follow since the AIDS disease attacks the immune system and the body's ability to fight off other diseases.  STD'S (sexually transmitted diseases) seem to be logical considering the free and unprotected sexual life styles of many gay men.  In short; this phenomenon is not really a surprise.  

The one big question which still remains is how do we deal with the problems arising from the irresponsible sexual behavior of the gay life style?  There are no creative solutions and few medical treatments for AIDS.  The best advice for us all is to practice safe sex and avoid the pitfalls and snares of the gay life style.  It's just that simple.  Other wise your life could turn into a nightmare of the worst sort.

We are running very few photographic illustrations for most of this article. Many of these STD'S would be considered too disturbing for some readers.  These photos may be found at or by Googling Syphilis.

Tell me more about bacterial meningitis.
Meningitis is an infection of the spinal fluid and of the membranes surrounding the brain (the meninges). Before the Hib vaccine was approved for use, Haemophilus influenzae B was the most common cause of meningitis. Now, however, most cases of meningitis are caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Neisseria meningitidis.
Bacterial meningitis is a very serious disease, with a 10-15% mortality rate, and 10-15% of those who survive have permanent damage, including hearing loss, loss of limbs, and mental retardation.
How is bacterial meningitis transmitted?
Although epidemics of meningitis do occur, mainly in the "meningitis belt" of central Africa, bacterial meningitis is mainly transmitted by carriers of either S. pneumoniae or N. meningitidis, via direct contact with their respiratory secretions.
What are the symptoms of bacterial meningitis?
The symptoms of meningitis are the same regardless of the cause: fever, headache, and stiff neck. As the disease advances, a rash may appear on the infected person, which are spots of dead tissue, destroyed by the invading bacteria.
Meningitis is an extremely fast-moving infection- there have been cases of people feeling perfectly healthy in the morning and dead by nightfall. Should the above symptoms appear, it is crucial that you seek medical attention immediately.
Because the symptoms of meningitis are identical regardless of whether the infection is caused by a virus or by bacteria, a laboratory diagnosis is crucial to treatment. In the case of a bacterial infection, laboratory tests will also determine the species and type of infecting bacteria so that the right antibiotics can be used.
How is bacterial meningitis treated?
Bacterial meningitis essentially requires hospitalization so that symptoms can be monitored, and so that large doses of antibiotics can be given intravenously. Prompt, appropriate antibiotic therapy can reduce the risk of dying from bacterial meningitis to around 15%.
How can I prevent meningitis?
Vaccines exist against all different types of bacterial meningitis. Vaccines against S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae B (Hib) are part of the recommended childhood vaccination series. A new vaccine against N. meningitidis has just been approved for older children and adolescents, who have a very high rate of bacterial meningitis. It is also recommended for college freshman living in dorms, who are three times more likely than other persons their age to contract meningitis.

“The Los Angeles Times”
Deadly L.A.- Area Meningitis Cases Raise Concerns In Gay Community

April 04, 2014
By Hailey Branson-Potts

As three people were confirmed dead this week after having contracted meningitis in Los Angeles County, at least one medical expert said there is a "pretty strong signal" that men who have sex with men are at increased risk for the rare bacterial infection.

Robert Bolan, the medical director at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, said there is cause for concern in the gay community because the infection rate is higher in men who have sex with men and especially higher in those who are HIV-positive.

Bolan said it is unclear why the disease seems to affect men who have sex with men at a higher rate, though the weakened immune systems of people who are HIV-positive might make them more susceptible.
“I think the important thing to understand is this is not an epidemic,” Bolan said. “But there’s a pretty strong signal that men who have sex with men, at least those who are HIV-positive, are at increased risk for invasive meningococcal disease.”

The county health department announced earlier this week that there have been eight cases of invasive meningococcal disease in the county so far this year. Four cases occurred in men who have sex with men, and three of those involved men who were HIV-positive, county health officials said. On Thursday, officials said three of them had died. The victims were 27 or 28.

Some of those sickened lived or socialized in West Hollywood and North Hollywood, officials said.
The deaths come less than a year after L.A. gay’s community grappled with another meningitis scare.
Brett Shaad, a 33-year-old West Hollywood resident and attorney, contracted meningitis in April 2013 after attending a gathering of gay men in Palm Springs. He died days later.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation responded by offering free meningitis vaccines. County health officials eventually offered the vaccine for low-income and uninsured residents.

This time around, the county is providing free vaccinations for patients without health insurance. 
Invasive meningococcal disease stems from a rare bacterial infection that can spread to the blood, brain or spinal cord and can affect the entire body -- sometimes causing death.

It is spread by close exposure to sneezing or coughing or direct contact with saliva or nose mucus -- though it's less contagious than influenza, the county health department said.

Activities associated with risk for the illness include smoking, close contact with an infected person such as kissing or sharing beverages or cigarettes, and living in group settings for prolonged periods.
Symptoms of the illness usually strike within five days of exposure to the bacteria, and may include a high fever, stiff neck, aversion to bright light and aches.

Those interested in the free vaccinations can call 211 or visit the department's website to get a listing of provider clinics.

“The Los Angeles Times”

By Mikael Häggström, via Wikimedia Commons

Syphilis Classification and external resources Electron micrograph of Treponema pallidum.
“LA Weekly”

Gay Syphilis Scourge Skyrockets 
County officials dawdle, leisurely launching another questionable ad campaign

by Patrick Range McDonald  
Wednesday, Jul 11 2007

FIVE YEARS AGO, the honchos at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health were caught off guard. An outbreak of syphilis among gay men suddenly popped up on their radar, and leaders in the gay community quickly put pressure on the health officials to launch a timely marketing campaign to warn the public.

They chose a mascot for the county’s marketing campaign — a cartoon drawing of an unidentifiable red blob named Phil, meant to represent a syphilis sore. But in a decision that set the wags talking about absurd Los Angeles prudishness, county officials refused to also use a smiling cartoon of a talking “healthy penis” — a drawing so inoffensive it looked like a bratwurst.

San Francisco and Seattle used both the penis and the Phil cartoon in their campaigns, but Los Angeles officials, located in the filming capital of tits and ass, couldn’t handle the image of a happy cock. “The county was more concerned about people’s tender sensibilities than getting the message out,” says Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care.

Today, the Department of Public Health faces a much bigger problem than that old dustup: That syphilis outbreak has not only refused to go away, but infection rates among gay and bisexual men have skyrocketed 365 percent between 2001 ?and 2005 to 1,585 cases.

The bad news gets worse. On June 29, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that neurosyphilis — a serious and rare form of syphilis, which can lead to blindness and stroke — had been found in HIV-positive gay and bisexual men in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago and New York.

Yet, in what appears to be a replay of their timidity five years ago, county bureaucrats have been extremely slow to react, failing to beef up their traditional three-pronged attack using prevention, testing and education — a proven strategy for fighting the syphilis scourge in other cities.

Critics are peeved that government bureaucrats in Los Angeles County, despite the raging syphilis and emergent neurosyphilis in gay men, have leisurely spent their time over the past year developing and testing yet another marketing campaign.

“Public Health almost promotes bad health as they keep fiddling and we keep telling them it’s going to get worse and worse,” says Miki Jackson, an activist and health care consultant to the gay and lesbian community. “And we’ve been right more times than we would like.”

Organizations such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center have been warning county health officials including Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of Public Health, and John Schunhoff, chief of operations of Public Health, for years.

WHAT’S REALLY TROUBLING, critics say, is that while these leaders at Public Health knew something was going awry in their fight against syphilis, they moved aggravatingly slowly. In 2000, cases of syphilis among gay men zoomed from zero to 69, but after running an outreach program for just two months, the county declared success and stopped funding it. Gay leaders were mystified, warning health officials that the situation was worsening — and in 2001 syphilis cases jumped to 85.

In recent months, with the new numbers showing a massive problem, county officials argue that they didn’t issue a call for more action because the sharply rising data simply reflected the fact that more people who harbored syphilis had decided to be screened. “If you’re successful in getting people tested,” explains Schunhoff, “the numbers go up.”

On one level, Schunhoff’s right. But even he was reluctant to explain away the spike merely as a surge in data. In 2005, the county stopped funding the widely seen campaign using Phil the syphilis sore — the year syphilis infections hit a peak of 1,585 cases. And until last week, the county, with its $19.38 billion budget, had failed for 18 months to fund any public-education campaign warning of the mounting syphilis scourge.
“With HIV/AIDS, the county has been pretty responsive,” says Whitney Engeran III, director of prevention and testing at AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “When it comes to [sexually transmitted diseases], however, there’s not the same kind of action.”

Critics say the dichotomy is mind-boggling, since rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases clearly signal an increase in unsafe sex practices. And unsafe sex leads to more HIV/AIDS cases. Moreover, experts in Los Angeles point out that men with syphilis sores are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS. Either way, syphilis and other spreading diseases are not simply the material for crude jokes anymore. In the long run, they spell big trouble.

Schunhoff defends the 18 months it took the lumbering county to create its brand-new marketing campaign, featuring a hunky, half-naked man wrapped in a white towel preparing to take a shower, with the slogan: “Check yourself. Don’t assume you’re getting off clean.”
“We were trying to get a campaign that works with focus groups,” Schunhoff says. “The [Los Angeles County] Board of Supervisors wanted something that was really effective.” He predicts optimistically, “I think the outcome will result with more testing.”

Yet county officials never asked the gay health care community, with its decades of marketing experience, what “effectiveness” looks like, according to Miki Jackson. “They kept the entire campaign a secret,” she charges. “We had no input, and whenever we asked them a question, they were silent about it.”

AS DISCONNECTED as Fieldingis from these gay health care experts, however, he should still only take so much heat for a problem clearly caused by gay and bisexual men who insist on having sex without condoms.

Jackson points to a deadly silence within the community. She believes this widespread silence causes outbreaks like syphilis. “People don’t want to talk about AIDS or syphilis. It brings up the past and bad memories. They’re in great denial.”

Craig Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles, similarly blames “condom fatigue” — an attitude harbored by young men who weren’t around when AIDS was a virtual death sentence, as well as denial among men who even now aren’t comfortable with their homosexuality.

“The more homosexuality is hidden,” says Thompson, “the less likely you are going to negotiate safe sex.”
West Hollywood Mayor John Duran sees the use of crystal meth as a major culprit in the ballooning syphilis scourge. “It grabs people right from the very start, and people become addicted very quickly,” says Duran. “So they don’t have the ability to make the right choices.”

Duran also believes, “The message wears down after hearing this stuff for 20 years. We have to come up with something new.” Duran expects to start up a gay men’s health forum.

But for Michael Weinstein of AIDS Healthcare, the issue is more clear cut: “There has been a decline of safer sex in the gay community, and there hasn’t been a call to arms about it.”

Weinstein is a rare voice in Los Angeles, consistently and loudly demanding personal responsibility when it comes to gay sex. Only a few years ago, posters featuring a photograph of Weinstein mysteriously appeared in the windows of West Hollywood bars on Santa Monica Boulevard, labeling Weinstein a “Condom Nazi.”
At the time, Weinstein was pushing a citywide public referendum for mandatory condom distribution at all West Hollywood bars and clubs. The voters in the 35,716-resident city, which is about 40 percent gay or bisexual, shot him down, and Weinstein was shocked that people turned against him.

“There are people in the gay community who say we shouldn’t hold people responsible,” Weinstein says, “and they are very militant about it.”

Regardless, the stubborn Weinstein has a plan to create a social climate where unsafe sex is not tolerated. Just as “friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” Weinstein wants gay men to accept the same notion about safe sex.
“Men — gay or straight — don’t want to use condoms,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.” Toward that end, AIDS Healthcare’s own marketing campaign emphasizes that testing and prevention should be a part of one’s grooming routine, like working out at the gym or brushing your teeth.
“It doesn’t help to judge,” says Weinstein, “but you can get the information out there and encourage people to get tested.”

In the meantime, bureaucrats at the county’s sprawling Department of Public Health will, in their own words, fight syphilis with “guerrilla marketing tactics” — and probably cross their fingers. Their new outreach program will run for two years. But if history repeats itself, they may need to start working on a replacement campaign today.?
“LA Weekly”

Symptoms for syphilis are harder to detect in women during the early stages of the disease.  This posters acknowledges the social stigma of syphilis, while urging those who possibly have the disease to be tested. (circa 1936)


The above image was published in LIFE Magazine in November 1990 showing AIDS patient David Kirby taking his last breaths surrounded by his family in Ohio. The image, shot by Therese Frare, became the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. See the entire collection of images on

How To Find An AIDS Cure For All

By Kenneth Cole and Michel Sidibé
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014

(CNN) -- Thirty years ago around this time of the year, scientists announced that the probable cause of AIDS had been found. Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, would subsequently enter our lexicon and become synonymous -- no matter where you lived -- with death. Since then, more than 75 million people have acquired HIV and nearly 35.6 million have died of AIDS-related illnesses. With no cure in sight, it seemed that ending this epidemic would be a Sisyphean task.

But investments in AIDS research, prevention and treatment have yielded tremendous dividends. As a result, we have before us the opportunity to end one of the greatest public health crises in history.

More people than ever are receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy, and are living healthier, longer lives. There have been historic declines in AIDS-related deaths worldwide. From 1996 to 2012, antiretroviral therapy averted 6.6 million AIDS-related deaths, including 5.5 million in developing countries. The annual number of new HIV infections has also dropped by 33% since 2001. In 26 countries, the rate of new HIV infections among young people (ages 15-24) decreased by 50% since 2001. For the first time, we have the ability to end the transmission from mother to child and to keep mothers alive.

Merely a decade ago, few believed they would see a cure in their lifetimes. However, several people who have been cured have helped shine a light on how a cure for all could be found. The case of a Berlin patient, the first person to be cured of HIV, was reported in 2008 and represented a watershed moment in HIV research and a proof of principle that a cure was possible. Last year, researchers documented the case of the first child to be functionally cured of HIV.

Yet despite these promising developments, the epidemic is far from over. We are one year away from the target date for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care set forth in the United Nations 2011 Political Declaration on AIDS, and we have a lot of work to do to meet that goal. Of the 35.3 million people living with HIV, nearly two out of three living in developing countries are not on HIV treatment, either because they do not have access or do not know their HIV status.

Scaling up access to HIV treatment remains an essential prerequisite for ending AIDS. In addition to saving lives, it has proven to be highly effective at preventing HIV transmission because treatment reduces the chance the virus can spread by 96%. We must also improve our health systems to support the scale-up of core interventions that we know work, including expanded access to HIV prevention and treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, harm reduction, and voluntary medical male circumcision.
Effective outreach to those most at risk—and most in need—is also critical. Key populations, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender individuals, people who inject drugs, young girls and women often face substantial barriers to obtaining prevention, treatment and care services. As a result, efforts to reduce HIV transmission among vulnerable populations remain insufficient.

Moving forward, research on a cure and vaccine remains essential and must be a priority. The quest for a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV has seen hopeful signs of progress. Recently, an experimental vaccine "cleared" HIV in monkeys infected with the virus. Broadly neutralizing antibodies that protect against a wide range of strains of HIV have been discovered. Experts are following up the RV144 trial in Thailand, the first vaccine to show a modest protective effect in humans, in order to understand why some people were more protected than others and how to make the protective effect last longer.

HIV cure research has gained momentum and picked up speed. The first organization to aggressively pursue cure-focused HIV research, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, has intensified its cure research program and set a goal to find a broadly applicable cure for HIV by 2020 with its "Countdown to a Cure for AIDS" initiative.

The foundation plans to invest $100 million in cure research over the next six years. And on World AIDS Day last December, President Obama announced $100 million in reprioritized funding over the next three years to launch a new HIV Cure Initiative at the National Institutes of Health. The scientific obstacles to a cure have been illuminated, and with a vigorous research effort and sufficient investment, these challenges can be overcome.

While we now have the tools to begin to end the HIV epidemic, achieving an AIDS-free generation is threatened by a considerable gap between available resources and the amounts needed to scale up high-impact interventions. Investing now in these interventions will not only accelerate progress in reducing AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections, but it will also lower the long-term cost of the HIV response. Strong, continuous U.S. leadership at this critical moment is key.

Innovative financing options and strategies need to be explored to ensure that the global HIV response is sustained. UNAIDS supports many countries in developing HIV investment cases, which enable countries to estimate future resource gaps, identify new sources of domestic financing to help close the gaps, and agree on ways to enhance the efficiency and impact of spending. More than 30 countries are now planning to develop their own investment cases by the end of this year.

Lastly, we must eliminate stigma, discrimination and punitive laws and practices that continue to undermine efforts to provide critical services to prevent and treat HIV, especially among vulnerable populations. We're seeing a growing conservatism in a growing number of regions and countries.

State-sanctioned homophobia in many countries remains a formidable barrier to the implementation and uptake of HIV programs. More than 80 countries criminalize homosexual behavior. The anti-homosexuality laws that have gone into effect in India, Nigeria, Russia and Uganda, for example, could impede their national responses to HIV. Studies have clearly shown that criminalizing same-sex sexual behavior poses an immense structural barrier to HIV prevention.

We all are stakeholders in the opportunity before us now. Addressing the unfinished business of ending the pandemic will require the cooperation and full commitment of national government leadership, scientists, civil society, and people living with HIV. But through continued and strengthened solidarity, we will be able to rise above the challenges that remain ahead to ultimately achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation.


We would like to provide a list of STD'S and STI'S to fully inform you of the dangers to be mindful of which has been provided by  Many of these are treatable.  If you suspect you may be at risk see your doctor immediately or if expense is a problem see a County Free Clinic.  They want to see you as soon as possible!

  Routine screen—all individuals reported to be engaging in sexual activity that may put them at risk are offered STI testing
  Repeat testing may be required based on clinical assessment
  Bacterial Vaginosis
  Genital Herpes
  Hepatitis B
  Hepatitis C
  Human Papillomavirus
  Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)
  Pubic Lice (Crabs)
  Yeast Infections

If you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection, get it checked out as soon as possible. You can see your family doctor or visit a Healthy Sexuality Clinic in your area to find out exactly what you have and how you can treat it. And to be on the safe side, it's best to avoid having sex until you've seen a doctor about your concerns.
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