Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

'Tis the season for vaccinations
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Charlsie Dewey
2013-12-10

This article shared 3333 times since Tue Dec 10, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


It's the time of year to get vigilant about germs, and the Chicago Public Health Department ( CPHD ) wants to see everyone get a flu shot, including everyone in the LGBT community.

"For all people throughout the U.S. at this time of year influenza vaccine is a really important thing that they should be doing to keep themselves healthy," said Julie Morita, medical director for the immunization program at the Chicago Public Health Department.

Morita said that the CPHD would be part of a weeklong campaign, being held Dec. 8-14, to promote Chicagoans getting vaccinated against the flu.

She noted that once the holidays hit people tend to think it's too late to get a flu shot, but that right now is actually the perfect time, and there is plenty of the vaccine available.

She also said that anyone with HIV should especially make sure to get the flu vaccine.

Morita said that there is a tendency to hear the words vaccine or immunization and to only think of children, and therefore, the adult population in the United States is not well vaccinated against the host of diseases that they should be.

"Particularly for gay and bisexual men, the Center for Disease Control makes specific recommendations for certain vaccines to be given," she said. "That would be the Hepatitis A and B vaccines and then the HPV vaccine is recommended for gay and bisexual men up to 26 years of age, and that prevents genital warts and other HPV associated cancers."

One recommendation missing from that list is the meningitis vaccine, which has gotten some increased media attention this year with outbreaks having hit the gay and bisexual male community in New York City particularly hard—seven men have died from the disease since 2010.

A vigorous vaccination campaign was undertaken and so far it seems to have worked.

"In New York what they had was an outbreak of meningococcal disease," Morita said. "The bacteria are called Neisseria meningitides, and so people refer to it as meningitis, but the bacteria doesn't always cause meningitis. It can cause meningitis, but it also causes bloodstream infections.

"What they had in New York was an outbreak of infections caused by this bacteria and some of it was meningitis, but some of it was also bloodstream infections."

The disease is transmitted through the repertory system, and can be contracted through living in close quarters, sharing drinks, food or cigarettes, or from kissing.

"For meningococcal disease in general the LGBT community is not considered at higher risk for meningococcal infections, however, in New York City what they experienced was they had an outbreak within that MSM community," Morita said.

"They actually identified their community that they felt was at greater risk. It wasn't just all MSM, but it was MSM who used social media to find each other and to interact with each other. So they felt that MSM who have met people on online websites or digital applications, that those people might be at greater risk. Because of that they did a really large vaccination campaign to vaccinate men who have sex with men in New York City."

Morita said that the CPHD was watching closely for any signs of a similar trend in Chicago, but that there was no evidence of a higher risk for Chicago's MSM community.

She did note that in 2003 the MSM community on the north side of Chicago did experience a meningococcal disease outbreak and 14,000 people were immunized at that time.

"In the U.S. we have a meningococcal vaccine that prevents against bloodstream infections and meningitis caused by types A, C, W135 and Y, so it protects against those four different strains of meningococcal disease," she said.

Teenagers are the highest risk for contraction so there is a routine recommendation for all teenagers to get the vaccine between 11-12 years old and then again at ages 15-16.

"Then there are certain high-risk groups of adults who have abnormal immune systems who also are recommended to get it routinely because they are at greater risk for getting it," Morita added.

"The studies that they have done so far do not show that people who have HIV alone are considered at a higher risk for meningococcal disease."

She noted that those are just the recommendations, but that anyone who is concerned can request the vaccine from his or her medical provider.

David Munar, president and CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, agreed that vaccines are especially important to anyone infected with HIV.

"Vaccines are kind of the first line of defense," he said. "So someone that is newly diagnosed with HIV usually at the first or second medical visit will receive updated vaccinations for things like pneumonia; flu, of course; chicken pox; and hepatitis A and B virus, and be screened for other things like tuberculosis or hepatitis C."

Munar said that the biggest impediment his organization sees is that people are not receiving needed health care in general.

"For people who are diagnosed, who know their HIV status, only about half are receiving continuous medical care to address their HIV related health care needs, which is a huge problem, because without medical care they are in eminent danger of their health declining, and without treatment individuals could inadvertently transmit HIV to someone else," Munar said.

"I think that those that do interact with the health care system are receiving and generally accepting of vaccinations that can help support their health."

One final thing to think about when considering vaccinations is the importance of herd immunity, which can impact the HIV-positive community in particular.

"People with underlying health conditions like HIV, because of their immune system, may not be candidates for the live vaccines because they could get more sick because of the vaccines," Morita said.

Live vaccines include the chicken pox vaccine and the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.

Morita said that anyone with a CD4 count of less than 200 needs to discuss those vaccines with their doctors because they are probably not a candidate for receiving the vaccine.

"If everyone else around them is protected than they aren't going to get sick either," she explained.

Although there has been some skepticism around vaccines in the past decade, Morita said she is seeing that skepticism decline and points to outbreaks like the one in New York as reminders to people of just how deadly these diseases are and why even skeptics might be more likely to see the importance in getting vaccinated.


This article shared 3333 times since Tue Dec 10, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WINDY CITY TIMES 2020 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2020-11-25
- Even as crazy as this year has been, there have been some constants—such as the observations of holidays (although they have been a lot more virtual). Among said observations is holiday shopping, and Windy City Times ...


Gay News

Chicago's pandemic budget passes 2020-11-25
- On Nov. 24, The Chicago City Council passed the city's 2021 pandemic budget. According to a media release, "The $12.8 billion budget was built in close collaboration with City Council members, labor partners and other key ...


Gay News

Lawsuit filed regarding trans exclusion for health benefits 2020-11-24
- Lambda Legal and Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger PLLC filed a federal lawsuit challenging Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois' (BCBSIL's) administration of a blanket exclusion of gender-affirming care in an ...


Gay News

State Senator Feigenholtz encourages all to sign up for ACA benefits 2020-11-24
--From a press release - CHICAGO — State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is encouraging everyone to sign up for health coverage during the Affordable Care Act's Open Enrollment period, which lasts until Dec. 15. "The Affordable Care Act expanded health care ...


Gay News

Diabetes and HIV 2020-11-24
- Experts suggest that prolonged antiretroviral therapy (ART) of HIV-infected people is associated with increased risk of insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes. I suggest that this is not an accurate scientific explanation. Here's why. T ...


Gay News

COVID-19 Queer-led FamilyQ helps distribute masks 2020-11-23
- FamilyQ is an LGBTQ-led volunteer effort to support nonprofit organizations and social-justice groups by donating more than 100,000 disposable face masks. Proceeds help provide resources to overlooked and underresourced communities. ...


Gay News

11th Circuit Court rules on conversion therapy protections, groups respond 2020-11-20
--From a press release - ATLANTA, GA — Today, in a split decision, a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit issued a decision today striking down local laws in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, Florida protecting minors from undergoing conversion ...


Gay News

PPIL extends Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy program statewide 2020-11-18
- During this year's Transgender Awareness Week (which culminates with the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20), Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is highlighting its Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) ...


Gay News

New guide out for educators, parents advocating for LGBTQ students with disabilities 2020-11-17
--From a press release - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation released a new resource to help both parents and educators advocate on behalf of LGBTQ students with disabilities. NCLR partnered with HRC Foundation, the National ...


Gay News

COVID-19 Pritzker institutes Tier Three mitigations starting Nov. 20 2020-11-17
- With a new wave of COVID-19 surging across Illinois, the Midwest and the nation, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced, on Nov. 17, additional COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will take effect ...


Gay News

City of Chicago issues Stay at Home Advisory 2020-11-12
- In response to rising COVID-19 cases, Chicago residents have been advised to remain at home beginning Monday, Nov.16, 2020 and to cancel plans to entertain on Thanksgiving. Exceptions to the new Stay at Home Advisory are ...


Gay News

CVS Health offering free, rapid COVID-19 testing on South Side 2020-11-11
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Ill., November 10, 2020 — Together with the New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church and Peer Plus Education and Training Advocates, CVS Health is launching rapid COVID-19 testing at the Chicago Baptist Institute. CVS pharmacists ...


Gay News

Healthcare for tens of millions, including LGBT elders, at stake in Supreme Court hearing 2020-11-10
--From a SAGE press release - Today, the Supreme Court hears yet another case challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This challenge takes up whether eliminating the penalty for not having health insurance makes the individual ...


Gay News

Number of COVID-19 cases among Cook County Circuit Court employees updated 2020-11-09
- The Office of the Chief Judge has announced that four employees and two judges have tested positive for COVID-19. One judge works at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, while the other judge works in the Cook County ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker and staff test negative for COVID-19 2020-11-07
--From a press release - Chicago — Governor Pritzker and staff who attended the meeting Monday where they were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 have tested negative. The PCR tests were conducted Friday afternoon. This is the second ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.