Two Additional Meningitis Deaths Identified in Southern California

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation said yesterday it had identified two previous deaths it attributed to a deadly form of meningitis, NBC Los Angeles reports:

SpoonRjay Spoon, 30, of downtown Los Angeles died on Dec. 16; and an unidentified 30-year-old San Diego State University student who lived in Chula Vista died on Dec. 10.

Casey Hayden, who was Rjay Spoon's partner, said he woke up one night to find Spoon vomiting. Spoon's symptoms puzzled doctors until it was too late, he said.

"We went to the hospital and the first thing they said it was was a drug overdose," Hayden told reporters Tuesday. "Then they said it was extremely advanced HIV, which was not the case. He was negative."

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation told the L.A. Times it gave hundreds of vaccinations on Monday to people who showed up at its facilities:

The organization, which initially ordered about 1,000 doses and plans to acquire more, said it would continue providing the shots as needed.

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has provided an FAQ about bacterial meningitis on its site for those of you with questions about the disease and where you can get vaccinated.


  1. Isaac says

    Seriously…why do doctors immediately think HIV when they know you are gay?! I had an eye infection once and before they gave me antibiotics for it they gave me an HIV test cuz they realized I was gay. That was after I told them I have been in a monogamous relationship for 9 years. Maybe a death could have been prevented in this story if the doctor focused more on the symptoms instead of a patient’s sexuality.

  2. jim says

    yeah, I dont really get the connection here. Anyone within close contact to the infected can contract meningitis. Why is this being directed toward gay/bi men specifically and not the general population?

  3. Adam says

    Carl and Isaac,

    The reason why doctors link being gay to AIDS is because the gay community has done its best to portray AIDS as a gay illness. The gay community – or those who claim to represent it – actually enjoy the attention that comes from being thought of as victims of an illness.

    The “meningitis in the gay community” scare finally exposes the appalling conduct of the gay community with its illness identity politics.

  4. Vint says

    @Isaac: Doctors are morons if they assume you’re HIV(+) because you say you’re gay, but they’re also morons if they assume you’re HIV(-) because you say you’ve been monogamous.

    You would hope that ER doctors would recognize meningitis, but as described it presented with vomiting and not with headache, fever and stiff neck. I think that’s probably a problem in reportage.

  5. Adam says

    Meningitis can be caught by talking to an infected person. Sex is irrelevant.

    Therefore, sexuality is irrelevant. Stop trying to create another fake “gay illness” for the benefit of attention-seeking gay guys.

  6. Polyboy says

    Adam… just stop. The pathogen is making inroads in a targeted community. That community must be notified so it can act. Your kind of BS just makes people comfortable to do nothing.

    Silence still equals death.

  7. Oxnard Rick says

    Adam, you’ve got some serious issues that you need to deal with. Almost 2/3 of HIV cases in the US are gay men. Any doctor who questions a gay man’s HIV status is not a “moron,” and of course he would need to think about the possibility given the statistics. The meningitis infections being discussed has so far been similarly over-represented among gay men, and it may be because gay men, more likely to have HIV than the general population, would be more likely to develop dangerous symptoms of the meningitis bacteria. Whatever your hangups are, they don’t change the realities that the medical community needs to deal with.

  8. Tyler says

    Towle: Do you have any idea who and what AHF is? It is run by anti-pornography and anti-gay zealots who are intent on identifying this disease with sexual contact, specifically gay sex. Secondly, how can they unilaterally diagnose these two cases without medical proof? There seems to be an agenda at work here with their pronouncements to the media at large.

  9. Sean in Dallas says

    As a practicing physician, I can tell you it is not OK for a doctor to assume you have HIV if you are gay. It IS okay if the doctor offers to test for HIV. But withholding medication until you consent to testing is just wrong.

    We now routinely vaccinate against meningitis for kids 11 and up…it used to be just for college students and military recruits, but that’s changed in the past few years.

    Bacterial meningitis is NOT a gay plague, no matter what anyone says. We are all at risk, and all it takes is a few respiratory droplets. Even being in the same room with someone who’s infected is risky–droplets from a cough or a sneeze can travel significant distances and land on surfaces we all touch.

    Immunizations are available from most family physicians, as well as any health department.

  10. Jerry says

    When I was 22 and still lived in Arkansas, I went to the doctor with a spider bite. He asked me if I was a homosexual. I said yes, and he told me that I had AIDS. Not just HIV positive, but AIDS. No questions about all the promiscuous sex that I was NOT having. Just three horrible days of waitng for a negative test result. Six months later I went to a different doctor, but one who had my chart from the previous physician. While he was out of the room I looked at my chart and it said “effeminate homosexual” in the notes. I vowed that day to get the hell out of there and move to the city where that would never happen again, which I did. It is very disconcerting that in LA something like that could still happen.

  11. Thomas says

    @Sean in Dallas, @Isaac, @Carl–Very good points. What people need to think about is how a doctor’s presuppositions skew diagnosis. If you’re in a heterosexual marriage, HIV or another STD is typically the last thing considered regardless of presentation. Or if you’re just heterosexual and say you’re monogamous or not sexually active, then again the presumption moves away from STDs. But if you’re gay, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a monogamous relationship, partnered, or even married–the assumption is that it’s a sex-related illness. Ever since my sexuality entered my medical records during a very serious mystery illness, even though I was a virgin at the time in every sense of the word, I was put into a box. Four years later, I had been in a three year monogamous relationship with no penetrative intercourse, and I developed a painful burning rash that manifested around the thighs and groin most seriously. I was told it was sexually transmitted herpes and lectured by two doctors on the dangers of gay sex and that I should call any sex partners. This was before any test results came back. Turns out it was shingles, which a third doctor diagnosed just on visual inspection and tests eventually confirmed. The point is: I don’t think I would have faced a wrong diagnosis or been lectured on the dangers of sex if I had been a straight married man or woman. In my case, the negative consequence was a needless really bad fight with my partner. In the case written up above, the negative consequence of jumping to sexuality-related conclusions (drug overdose, advanced HIV) was most likely this young man’s death. And vomiting is a classic early symptom of bacterial meningitis.

  12. ripper says

    Folks, Adam is the same person who used to comment as Jason. He’s posted in the past that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, but rather it’s caused by poppers and promiscuous lifestyles. So that’s the type of mind you’re responding to.

    I hate when he comments on medical issues because he spreads false information to people that may not know any better. I wish Andy would ban him for good.

  13. L says

    What I need explained to me is why meningitis is only spreading among gay men? I’ve read that it is transmitted through kissing: straight people kiss, so there must be another factor as well?

  14. gayalltheway says

    There is no excuse for anyone who live in a modernized Western society to be ignorant about vaccinations and personal health, in general. Go to your G.P. and ask about every possible vaccination that you can and should get. Most are generally ok to be administered more than once but some are not. In those cases, if you don’t know whether you have been immunized, you can easily do a blood test to see if you already have the immunity in your system. As simple as that.
    With that being said, there are some forms of meningitis that we do not currently have vaccines for. Always think about your own safety and health first before engaging in intimate physical contact with someone else.

  15. Will says

    I got my vaccine at the AHF Pharmacy in West Hollywood Tuesday afternoon, and I have to give them credit for having things set up for so many people so quickly. There was a crowd, but the wait was only about half an hour when I went. Well worth anyone’s time.

  16. Lars says

    The level of misinformation here is staggering. I’ll just address one thing, since this deception is most dangerous:

    No, Adam, you cannot contract meningitis simply by talking to someone or breathing the same air as them. It is spread through physical contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person. Sneezing and coughing can spread these secretions. As can KISSING, which — newsflash — often happens in tandem with sexual activity.

    No one is trying to blame or malign gay guys. Epidemiologists are merely identifying trends, and trying to get info into the hands of at-risk populations. That would include guys who happen to have a lot of physical contact with random strangers. You know, the ones on Grindr.

  17. Robert R Whitford says

    Stigma; ” Truth is, ” so many sexually Active Gay men; are Bare backing; ‘ As Protocol, set up by the CDC, ” HIV most be considered, as a Causation fact in a Young apparently healthy Male presenting with these symptoms. ” Not everything, is a call to Litigation!” I get it, and I’m Poz 31 yrs, “Fact of life Boys! the party’s over ” protect Yourselves!”

  18. says

    The “two additional cases” are months old. It is unrelated to this, but it is John Duran trying to saving his ass after he jumped the gun and made some rather libelous remarks about the gay community. He went on about how this is spread at gay orgies. Sorry, but meningitis is not sexually transmitted.

    One of the two cases wasn’t in LA but in San Diego. They are really reaching to justify Duran issuing an “alarm” last Friday.

  19. MaddM@ says

    yes, this is obviously reporting cherry picking the gay cases to report where there were probably a small handful of cases in heterosexuals too

    this story and most of the comments just goes to show how scientifically illiterate our society is

  20. rdiac says

    @billmiller, They do, just not very frequently.
    Unfortunately doctors are subject to the same familiarity biases as the rest of us, so without real time reporting in consulting rooms these mishaps shall remain.

    Breeders ought to be greatfull that certain types of disease vectors coincide with a more socially active community, thus proactively protecting everyone.

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