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AIDS Healthcare Foundation Offering Free Meningitis Vaccines

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LOS ANGELES (AP/CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles health organization founded to fight AIDS is moving to take on meningitis after the death of a West Hollywood man.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is offering free vaccines for bacterial meningitis starting Monday. The vaccines were offered beginning at 10 a.m. at clinics in West Hollywood, 8212 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, 6210 Sunset Blvd., and Los Angeles, 1300 N. Vermont Ave., Suite 407.

Family members said 33-year-old attorney Brett Shaad died Saturday night after being hospitalized with meningitis.

“What we know now is that this young man did attend the White Party, which is a gathering of eight to 10,000 gay men from all over the world, and he subsequently became sick,” AHF’s Director Jed Kenslea said.

Shaad’s case brought warnings from West Hollywood officials to sexually active gay men to beware of the threat.

“He was not a friend of mine, but I knew people who knew him, and I just wanted to make sure that I am protected,” Sal Guillen said.

A strain of the illness circulated among gay men in New York and infected 22 people, killing seven, since 2010. Testing is underway to find whether this strain is similar.

The bacteria can be spread through close and prolonged contact that exchanges respiratory and throat secretions, such as kissing, but it is not spread casually like a cold.

“For those who have concerns, we are providing this as a public service,” Kenslea said.

For more information, visit AHF Pharmacy.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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