This story was first published on March 2nd, 2015
Circulating message warns that the immigration services of Algeria have recovered oranges from Libya that have been injected with ‘HIV & AIDS blood’.
The claims in the message are nonsense. There are no credible reports about such a contamination. Moreover, because HIV does not live very long outside the body and is killed by exposure to air and stomach acid, there is virtually no risk of contracting the virus from eating oranges, even if blood from an HIV positive person had been injected into the fruit. This nonsensical warning is just one more in a long series of HIV related hoaxes. Sharing it will help nobody.
The immigration services of Algeria recovered a large quantity of these oranges coming from Libya. These oranges were injected with positive tested HIV & AIDS blood. Please share this msg & warn people of d danger involved
Message Warns Of Oranges Injected with HIV Positive Blood
According to a ‘warning’ message that is going viral via social media, the ‘immigration services of Algeria’ have recovered a large quantity of HIV contaminated oranges shipped from Libya. The message claims that the oranges were injected with ‘positive tested HIV & AIDS blood’.
The message asks users to share the information as a means of warning others of the potential danger. It includes images supposedly depicting the contaminated oranges.
Message is an Absurd Hoax
However, the message is just a silly hoax. There are no credible news reports that support the absurd claims in the message in any way.
Of course, if such a contamination issue was true, it would have been widely reported by news outlets around the world and there would be official government health warnings for citizens in potentially affected regions.
News of such an issue certainly would not circulate solely via a vague and poorly rendered social-media message.
Moreover, the claims have no scientific credibility. HIV does not live long at all outside of the body. Exposure to air and stomach acids kill the virus. Thus, even if blood from a person who is HIV positive had been injected into oranges, there is virtually no chance that a person who later ate the fruit would become infected.
In an article about HIV transmission, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.
One in a Series of HIV Related Hoaxes
This bogus warning is just one in a long sorry series of HIV and AIDS-related Internet hoaxes that have circulated in various forms for decades. A similar hoax falsely claimed that canned fruit from Thailand had been deliberately contaminated with HIV blood by factory workers. Another version claimed with equal falsity that various Pepsi products had been deliberately contaminated with HIV infected blood at a bottling plant.
Even earlier variants falsely claimed that an HIV positive chef who cut himself had contaminated various takeaway foods.
One variant even claimed that HIV contaminated blood had been deliberately added to ketchup containers in fast-food restaurants.
Spreading such misinformation will help nobody. These hoax messages only cause confusion and alarm.
If one of these HIV related hoax warnings comes your way, please do not share it with others. And take the time to let the sender know that the information in the message is untrue.