Ketchup HIV Hoax
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HIV Infected Blood in the Ketchup Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Like many other hoax messages, this email forward warns of a sickening and unusual danger lurking among the commonplace items and places of our daily lives.

In this case, the supposed danger is HIV infected blood mixed with ketchup in a fast food outlet.

As is often the case with such bogus warnings, the details in the email are extremely vague. The alleged perpetrator is identified only as “a man”, and the type and location of the fast food outlet is omitted completely. The message does not indicate if the person has actually been apprehended or is still apt to be lurking around the condiments in your local burger joint, with deadly blood specimens at the ready. Thus, there is no way of verifying the information contained in the email, which, I dare say, was how the creator of the hoax intended it.

There does not appear to be any mention of such a case in the mainstream media. If it were true, such a story would be eminently newsworthy. It is highly unlikely that such a juicy little tale would be left to spread via email alone if there were any truth in it whatsoever. Legitimate news outlets would have been quick to cover the story. By asking recipients to send the message to “as many people as possible” the email implies that adding HIV infected blood to ketchup dispensers might be a frequent occurrence. If this were really the case, health authority containment strategies would almost certainly have been implemented to protect consumers and, again, the case would have attracted extensive publicity.

It also should be noted that the chances of a person contacting HIV by ingesting infected blood mixed with ketchup are extremely remote. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), “Scientists and medical authorities agree that HIV does not survive well outside the body, making the possibility of environmental transmission remote.” The article explains that the virus cannot reproduce outside a living host except under laboratory conditions. Thus, even if infected blood was added to ketchup, the virus would not survive for long, nor would it reproduce itself. This hoax is by no means the first to claim that innocent victims are at risk of being infected by HIV via the malicious placement of infected material. The long-lived, and widespread, HIV needle hoax falsely warns that HIV infected needles are being deliberately left on theatre seats, petrol (gas) pump handles and phone-booth coin returns.

Like other hoaxes, such as the roach eggs hoax, this infected blood in the ketchup hoax relies for effect on the revulsion factor. The thought of consuming HIV infected human blood would be enough to put even the most ardent fast food lover off his or her burger and fries. So perhaps this ridiculous piece of email nonsense has just a smidgin of value. Perhaps, after receiving this email, some will forgo their usual deep-fried artery-clogger and opt for a garden salad instead. Mind you, do you really know what’s in that salad dressing?

An example of the hoax:

SEND THIS TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE. PEOPLE ARE SICK.

This is something you may want to take note of: ONLY USE KETCHUP FROM THE PACKET IN FAST FOOD OUTLETS!!

A man was caught placing blood in the ketchup dispenser at a fast food outlet (to remain unnamed) within the last month. It is believed that he is HIV+.

So be sure to let your friends/family know…only use items that come in a closed packet.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer