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AIDS From Contaminated Take Away Food Warning

Outline
Message claims that a ten-year-old boy was diagnosed with AIDS after eating take-away food contaminated with blood from a cook who already had the illness.

Stop Wrong Information

© Depositphotos.com/stuartmiles



Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are untrue. There are no credible reports that support the claims and it is exceptionally unlikely that HIV could be transmitted in the way described in the messages. Versions of the message have now been circulating since at least 2005. Sending on these bogus health warnings will help nobody. Sharing serves only to spread unnecessary fear and alarm and may contribute to the many damaging misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Examples
(Submitted March 2014)
A 10 year old boy, had eaten pineapple about 15 days back, and fell sick, from the day he had eaten. Later when he had his Health check done...... doctors diagnosed that he had AIDS. His parents couldn't believe it...Then the entire family under went a checkup... none of them suffered from Aids. So the doctors checked again with the boy if he had eaten out.....The boy said 'Yes'. He had pineapple that evening. Immediately a group from the hospital went to the pineapple vendor to check. They found the pineapple seller had a cut on his finger while cutting the pineapple; his blood had spread into the fruit. When they had his blood checked...the guy was suffering from AIDS...but he himself was NOT aware. Unfortunately the boy is now suffering from it. Please take care while u eat on the road side and pls forward this message to your dear one's..

Take Care Please Forward This message To All The Persons You Know As Your Message May Save One's Life !!!!!

#repost!

Aids from Pineapple Hoax

(Submitted April 2006)
Red alert -PLEASE READ

A 10yrs old boy had eaten a fast food take-away about 15days ago and fell sick, later when he had his health check done doctors diagnosed that he had AIDS. His parents couldn't believe it...?

Then the entire family under went a checkup none of them was suffering from that. The doctors checked with the boy if he had eaten out? And the boy says he had take-away one evening. The hospital team went there to check. They found the take-away cook had a cut on his finger while cutting the onions, and his blood had spread in the food.

The blood was un-noticeable with the sauce on the burger. When they had his blood checked... the guy was suffering from AIDS but he himself was not aware.

Please take care while u eat from fast food outlets or roadside vendors. kindly forward this message to your friends and make them aware too.


(Submitted April 2006)
A 10 year old boy, had eaten panipuri about 15 days back, and fell sick, from the day he had eaten. Later when he had his Health check done... The doctors diagnosed that he had AIDS . His parents couldn't believe it. Then the entire family under went a Checkup... none of them suffered from Aids. So the doctors checked again with the boy if he had eaten out something, The boy said "yes". He had panipuri that evening before he fell sick. Immediately a group from Mallya hospital (BANGALORE) went to the panipuri vendor to check.

They found the panipuri seller had a cut on his finger while cutting the onions; his blood had spread in food. When they had his blood checked...the guy was suffering from AIDS ...... but he him self was NOT aware. Unfortunately the boy is suffering from it now.

Please take care while u eat from fast food outlets or roadside vendors. kindly forward this message to your friends and make them aware too.


Detailed Analysis


This message warns that a child has been diagnosed with AIDS after consuming takeaway food contaminated with infected blood. There are at least three different versions of the message. One claims that the contaminated blood was in the sauce on a takeaway burger. Another claims that it was included in a serve of panipuri, a popular Indian food often sold in roadside stalls. Yet another claims that the blood had spread into pineapple.

Like many such email and social media warnings, the details are both vague and unsubstantiated. The child or family is not named, nor are any confirmation sources included. Extensive research reveals no credible reports that back up the claims in the message in any way. The warnings are dismissed as untrue in a 2005 article published on GulfNews.com.

Furthermore, the message shows little understanding of important differences between HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). The message claims that the boy was diagnosed with AIDS within 15 days of consuming the supposedly contaminated material. However, AIDS is an illness caused by HIV and is diagnosed only when the virus has seriously damaged the human immune system and the victim has developed one or more opportunistic diseases associated with the virus. Not all people infected with HIV will develop AIDS. Moreover, most people with HIV live with the virus for years before developing AIDS. Thus, the claim that the child contracted AIDS directly from the AIDS suffering cook within a few days is entirely spurious. To reiterate, while HIV can be transferred from one person to another, AIDS is an advanced stage of an individual's experience with HIV.

Even if the author intended to refer to HIV rather than AIDS, it is, in any event, exceptionally unlikely that the virus could be transmitted in the way described in these messages. HIV dies very quickly in the environment and is unable to reproduce outside its living host. America's Centers for Disease Control (CDC), notes:
Except for rare cases in which children consumed food that was pre-chewed by an HIV-infected caregiver, HIV has not been spread through food. The virus does not live long outside the body. You cannot get it from consuming food handled by an HIV-infected person; even if the food contained small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.
The CDC also maintains that:
HIV is not spread by day-to-day contact in the workplace, schools, or social settings. HIV is not spread through shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, a drinking fountain, a door knob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, cigarettes, pets, or insects. HIV is not spread through the air, and it does not live long outside the body.
Furthermore, another CDC article discussing HIV related rumours states that:
No incident of food being contaminated with HIV-infected blood or semen has been reported to CDC. Furthermore, CDC has received no reports of HIV infection resulting from eating food, including condiments.

HIV does not live long outside the body. Even if small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen was consumed, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus. Therefore, there is no risk of contracting HIV from eating food.
If HIV could be passed on as easily as described in this warning, there would almost certainly be well-documented reports of such incidents. At the time of writing, there are more than 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the world along with millions of food outlets of every description. Given these statistics, if it were possible for consumers to be infected with HIV via contaminated takeaway food, such infections would be quite common, and health authorities would advise restrictions for HIV positive food-service workers.

Thus, the claims in the message should not be taken seriously. In fact, this message is reminiscent of an earlier, and completely bogus, AIDS story that claims HIV infected blood has been deliberately placed in the ketchup dispensers of fast food outlets. Such stories serve no purpose other than to spread unnecessary fear and alarm and add to the many damaging misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS. Bogus warnings such as this should not be passed on to others.

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Last updated: March 12, 2014
First published: April 7, 2006
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Panipuri
Doctors trash e-mails that warn against eating shawarmas
HIV Infection and AIDS: An Overview
How does HIV cause AIDS?
HIV Transmission
Frequently Repeated Rumors about HIV Transmission
THE GLOBAL HIV/AIDS CRISIS TODAY
HIV Infected Blood in the Ketchup Hoax