LANSING, MI – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced today, Monday March 5th, 2018, that they are focusing their efforts on the gay community to try and stop the spread of the hepatitis A virus. Their clinics will be making stops at popular social places that gay men gather at in and around the Detroit metro area.
In its continuing effort to combat Michigan’s hepatitis A outbreak, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is offering eight mobile vaccination clinics at Southeast Michigan bars and nightclubs popular with men who have sex with men (MSM) throughout March.
MSM have been identified as a group at high risk of contracting hepatitis A. Michigan’s hepatitis A outbreak began in August 2016, and there have been 771 cases to date. Of those, 69 – 14.6 percent – involve MSM. There have been 25 deaths throughout the outbreak.
“We are continuing to offer mobile clinics to help ensure this high-risk population is vaccinated against this highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with MDHHS. “The hepatitis A vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in protecting someone who may be exposed to the disease.
Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for MSM by the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Despite this guidance, hepatitis A vaccination coverage among MSM in the United States remains low leaving many adult men unprotected.
Hepatitis A vaccine will be available to patrons 19 years and older at the following venue-based clinics:
- Tuesday, March 6, 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. – Woodward, 6426 Woodward Avenue, Detroit
- Thursday, March 8, 8 – 11 p.m. – Adam’s Apple, 18931 West Warren, Detroit
- Saturday, March 10, 2 – 5 p.m. – Affirmations, 290 West 9 Mile Road, Ferndale
- Monday, March 12, 4 – 7 p.m. – Ruth Ellis, 77 Victor Street, Highland Park
- Friday, March 16, 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. – Hayloft, 8070 Greenfield, Detroit
- Thursday, March 22, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. – Liberty Bar, 85 North Saginaw St., Pontiac
- Saturday, March 24, 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. – Menjo’s, 928 West McNichols Road, Detroit
- Friday, March 30, 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. – GiGis, 16920 West Warren, Detroit
Hepatitis A is a serious, highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the feces (poop) of people with hepatitis A and spread by eating contaminated food or water, during sex or by living with an infected person.
Illegal drug users, those who are homeless or in transient living situations, recently incarcerated individuals and people with underlying liver disease are also at higher risk of contracting the disease.
Hepatitis A symptoms can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Belly pain
- Feeling tired
- Loss of appetite
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Dark urine
- Pale-colored feces (poop)
- Joint pain
Getting vaccinated, practicing good hand washing and avoiding sex with infected partners are ways to prevent getting infected. The Hepatitis A vaccine is available at local pharmacies, through healthcare providers and at local health departments.