New York City health officials are cautiously optimistic that a recent push to vaccinate gay and bisexual men against bacterial meningitis has succeeded in significantly hampering an outbreak of the disease among that population, The New York Times reports. A total of 22 New York City gay men have been infected with the disease in recent years, seven of whom have died since 2010. HIV-positive men represented a significant proportion of those infected.  

Concerned after the rate of new cases increased last fall and winter, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene first put out an advisory for HIV-positive men to receive vaccinations. The agency followed suit with a recommendation that all men get vaccinated if they had met a male sexual partner through a website, phone app or at a bar or party.  

A low-ball estimate of 16,000 men have been vaccinated, while the city estimates that perhaps 30,000 to 100,000 people were at risk.

There have been no reports of new cases since mid-February. The city has not gone this long without a new case since January 2012.

Beginning October 29, meningitis vaccines will be available through pharmacies, thanks to a new state law.

To read the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s March advisory about meningitis, click here.

To read the New York Times story, click here.

For a list of places in New York where you can get the vaccine for free, click here.