AHF Meningitis Vaccine Billboards Go Up: It’s “Just a Prick”

Hollywood Press Conference, Wednesday, August 10th, at 12:30pm

In response to a current outbreak of meningitis in Southern
California that is disproportionately affecting gay men, AIDS Healthcare
Foundation is launching “Just a Prick,” a new billboard advocacy and
awareness campaign targeting Los Angeles-area gay men and men who have
sex with men (MSM) with a message about the importance of meningitis
vaccinations, which are offered for free throughout L.A.

Healthcare Foundation
(AHF) will host a press conference Wednesday,
August 10
, at 12:30pm at its AHF
site on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood (6210 Sunset Blvd.,
90028) to unveil its newest billboard advocacy and awareness
campaign focusing on meningitis prevention by vaccination, particularly
among gay and bisexual men as well as men who have sex with men
(MSM)—populations that have been disproportionately affected by a recent
meningitis outbreak in Southern California.

AHF’s billboard campaign, with the provocative headline “Just a Prick,”
features a close up photo of an individual getting a vaccine shot. The
URL “www.freeMeningitisVAX.org
appears beneath the “Just a Prick” headline on the right side of the
billboard. The billboards are intended to remind people that meningitis
poses a threat to certain populations in Greater Los Angeles today and
to encourage people who may be at risk to get vaccinated, for free,
against the potentially deadly disease.

The billboards come in response to a call by Los Angeles County public
health officials urging all gay and bisexual men as well as men
who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County to get vaccinated
against meningitis. The County’s call comes during a current outbreak of
meningitis in Southern California that is disproportionately affecting
gay men. According to an August
5, 2016 LACDPH Health Alert
issued by the Los
Angeles County Department of Public Health
, there have been 15
meningococcal infections found to date in individuals in Los Angeles
County in 2016; of these, eight (8)—or 53%—were found in gay or bisexual
men or MSM.



PRESS CONFERENCE: AHF unveils new, “Just a Prick”
meningitis vaccination billboards



Dr. Michael Wohlfeiler, Chief of Medicine/US for AHF

Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Scott Carruthers, Chief Pharmacy Officer and Senior Manager
for AHF

Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director, Public Health
Division, AHF



Wednesday, August 10, 12:30pm



AHF Pharmacy/Sunset Blvd.
6210 Sunset Boulevard (across from the Palladium)
Hollywood, CA 90028


Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Director

+1-323-791-5526 mobile
+1-323-308-1833 work




A 2ft x 5ft copy of the “Just a Prick” billboard artwork will be on

“For the past several weeks AHF has been partnering with the County and
other agencies in Los Angeles to provide free meningitis vaccinations to
the public in response to this most recent outbreak of the disease.
Recently, the Los Angeles County health officials expanded the target
population for its recommendation for meningitis vaccination to include
all gay and bisexual men in the County. To date, the County hasn’t been
able to fully promote its expanded recommendation as well as the
availability of free vaccinations from the County and many other care
providers in the community,” said Michael Weinstein, President of
AHF. “We believe these billboards, which are intentionally provocative,
are an eye catching way to make more people aware about this serious
public health issue as well as the availability of free vaccines from
both the County and many providers and community groups throughout the

“Invasive meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria
, which can affect the bloodstream and lead to
meningitis. Infections can progress quite rapidly and can cause brain
damage, hearing loss, loss of limbs and even death,” said Dr. Michael
Chief of Medicine/US for AHF. “Outbreaks of serogroup C
meningococcal disease among MSM have been reported in communities
including New York City, Los Angeles County and Chicago since 2014.
Unfortunately, the total number of invasive meningococcal disease cases
in Los Angeles County for 2016 now stands at 15, eight of whom are MSM.
While we don’t quite know why, gay men are extremely over-represented in
these meningitis case numbers in Los Angeles and we urge all individuals
in this target population to get vaccinated.”

“We also urge the CDC and the NIH, in conjunction with local health
departments like L.A. County’s Public Health Department, to study the
meningitis issue and these specific cases in Southern California far
more intensively in order to determine if there is anything more to the
disproportionately high number of gay and bisexual men affected during
this and previous meningitis outbreaks here,” added Whitney
, Senior Director, Public Health Division for AHF.

AHF will offer free meningitis vaccines at all four of its Southern
California AHF
Wellness Centers
(Hollywood, Long Beach, San Fernando Valley and
West Adams) as well as at three AHF
sites (Long Beach, Sunset Blvd. and West Hollywood). It
will also offer the vaccine at the Clinica Bienestar in East Los
Angeles. In addition, a comprehensive list of other community providers
offering free meningitis vaccines in Greater Los Angeles is included at
the end of this release.

“Just a Prick” meningitis vaccination billboards are up in the following
four (4) locations in Los Angeles:

  • Vine at Santa Monica Blvd., NW corner
  • Sunset Blvd. at Van Ness, NE corner
  • Sunset Blvd. at Cahuenga, NE corner
  • Hollywood Blvd. at Hillhurst, SW corner

In 2013, a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis killed two Los Angeles
gay men and a San Diego student and seven MSM in New York. At that time,
AHF mounted an aggressive free meningitis vaccination campaign in Los
Angeles. In the span of one week (April 15-22, 2013), AHF provided 3,357
free meningitis vaccines to the community.

HEALTH NOTE: The meningitis vaccine provides protection for five
(5) years, so any individual who may have been vaccinated during the
cases or outbreaks reported in 2013 or 2014 does NOT need to get
a booster shot or be re-vaccinated now. In addition, clients who are HIV
positive will need a booster shot in 8-12 weeks; Healthvana will be able
to notify those clients electronically to return for the booster.

AHF Also Launched Zika Prevention Billboards in
South Florida

In addition to its new meningitis vaccination billboard campaign in
greater Los Angeles, AHF continues its push into the broader public
health spectrum by addressing other issues beyond HIV and AIDS.

Last week, AHF also launched a Zika prevention billboard campaign in
South Florida, where AHF provides HIV/AIDS treatment, care and services.
The Zika billboard campaign, which has been in the works for several
weeks, began last week with billboards appearing adjacent to the Ft
Lauderdale International Airport as well as in the city of Fort
Lauderdale. The campaign touts the role of condoms in the possible
prevention of transmission of the Zika virus. The billboard artwork
features the horizontal silhouette of an unfurled condom on a white
background. Superimposed over the condom is the headline, “Prevents Zika
Transmission,” addressing the fact that sexual transmission is one
common method of transmission of the virus. The billboard also includes
a link to the website: www.useacondom.com.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more
than 618,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa,
Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To
learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.

Locations for Free Meningitis Vaccinations


AHF Wellness Center – Hollywood


AHF Pharmacy – Hollywood/Sunset

1300 N. Vermont Ave., Suite 407, Los Angeles, CA 90027 6210 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Clinic is located in the Doctor’s Tower building. Mon-Sat , 10:00am to 7:00pm.

AHF Wellness Centers – Long Beach

AHF Pharmacy – Long Beach

3500 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, CA 90804 3500 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, CA 90804
Mon-Sat, 10:00am to 7:00pm.

AHF Wellness Center – San Fernando Valley

4835 Van Nuys Blvd., Ste 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

AHF Pharmacy – West Hollywood

621 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046

AHF Wellness Center – West Adams

Mon-Sat, 10:00am to 7:00pm.

2146 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Public Health

Los Angeles LGBT Center

(in STD Clinic)

1625 N. Schrader Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 11833 S. Wilmington Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90059

By appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 323-993-7500.

Regular hours are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.


Call 323-568-8100 with questions.


APLA Health & Wellness

Whittier Health Center

Gleicher/Chen Health Center

7643 S. Painter Ave., Whittier, CA 90602
3743 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90016 Regular hour are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Call 323-329-9900 for information.

Call 562-464-5350 with questions.


APLA Health & Wellness

Pomona Public Health Center

Long Beach Health Center

750 S. Park Ave., Pomona, CA 91766

1043 Elm Ave., Suite 302, Long Beach, CA 90813

Regular hours are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.

Call 562-432-0700 for information.

Call 909-868-0235 with questions.


Clinica Bienestar

North Hollywood Health Center (in STD Clinic)

5326 E. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90022

5300 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91601

Monday – Friday, 12 noon – 6 pm. (call 323-727-7896)

Regular hours are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.

Call 818-766-3982 with questions.

Curtis-Tucker Public Health Center

123 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90301

Regular hours are Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.

Call 310-419-5325 with questions.



Ged Kenslea
Senior Director, Communications
+1-323-791-5526 mobile

Associate Director of Communications
+1-310-886-9913 mobile