In recent years, a series of would-be warnings have circulated that claim that particular food or beverage products have been contaminated with HIV infected blood and that these products thereby pose a threat of HIV infection to those who consume them.
However, all of these supposed contamination warnings are false and they should not be taken seriously.
The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it has never received any reports of HIV infections caused by contaminated food. The CDC also points out that a person would not become infected even if they did consume food¹ or drink that contained HIV infected blood:
In an article about HIV transmission, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes:
You can’t get HIV 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 further explains:
HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host.
Moreover, not one of these HIV food contamination messages has ever been confirmed or supported by any credible news outlets or public health warnings. Nor have any of the supposedly contaminated products ever been recalled. Of course, if a food or beverage product was found to be contaminated or unsafe it would quickly be recalled and existing stock would be removed from store shelves.
These nonsensical warnings perpetrate long-running myths about HIV and AIDS and are entirely counterproductive. They also unfairly malign the companies who produce and distribute the supposedly contaminated products. Sending on such false health warnings will help nobody and serve only to spread fear and alarm for no good reason.
If you receive one of these fake HIV food contamination messages, do not spread the hoax further by sharing it. And let the person who posted it know that the message is a hoax.
1: The CDC does point out that, if you ate food that a person with HIV had already chewed, then the virus might possibly be spread to you. The CDC notes:
Though it is very rare, HIV can be spread by eating food that has been pre-chewed by someone with HIV. The contamination occurs when infected blood from a caregiver’s mouth mixes with food while chewing. The only known cases are among infants.
But unless you are in the habit of getting someone to chew your chocolate, butter, or oranges for you before you eat them, then you are not at risk.