Health Queer News

Two More Southern California Meningitis Deaths Come to Light



By Brandon Lowrey

Two more recent Southern California bacterial meningitis deaths have come to light after the illness rapidly killed a West Hollywood man last week.

Brett Shaad, 33, a West Hollywood attorney died on Saturday night. Officials in West Hollywood quickly alerted the gay community to the case of the sometimes deadly, contagious infection.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is offering free meningitis vaccines, on Tuesday announced two previous deaths: Rjay 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.

Adding to the fear of a potential outbreak is the fact that Shaad went to the White Party in Palm Springs, a dance party attended by thousands of gay men March 29 to April 1, the foundation said.

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.” Read More at

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