Is Someone Sitting Here?
Date Added: June 14, 2002
No matter how outrageous or unlikely a story sounds, we're more likely to believe it if it appears to be coming from someone who should be an expert on the subject. Unfortunately, most people who are credited with writing e-mail warnings like this one are just unsuspecting victims like you and I, who inadvertently became an "reliable source" when they forwarded it to their friends.
Sad to see the world has come to this... HIV Warning A few weeks ago in a movie theatre in Melbourne a person sat on something that was poking out of one of the seats. When she got up to see what it was she found a needle sticking out of the seat with a note attached saying...
"You have just been infected by HIV".
The Disease Control Centre in Melbourne reports many similar incidents have occurred in many other Australian cities recently. All tested needles ARE HIV Positive. The Centre also reports that needles have been found in the cash dispensers in ATMs. We ask everyone to use extreme caution when faced with this kind of situation. All public chairs/seats should be inspected with vigilance and caution before use. 17 people have been tested positive in the Western suburbs alone in the last 2 months!!!
A careful visual inspection should be enough. In addition they ask that each of you pass this message along to all members of your family and your friends of the potential danger. We all have to be careful at public places! This is very important. Just think about saving a life of someone even you don't know by forwarding this message.
Please, take a few seconds of your time to pass it along.
In a statement on their website, the Australian Red Cross calls this warning a hoax:
"If you have received a broadcast email titled 'HIV warning', please note that this is a hoax, and is not an official communication from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service."
BreakTheChain.org attempted to contact Rob Bates and got an official response that explains the message was sent without authorization and the parties responsible have been "spoken to."
"Although the message to which you refer was transmitted through the ARCBS e-mail system, it was not an official transmission. The employees responsible have been spoken to and now understand the implications of disseminating a personal communication under an ARCBS signature block.
"Apparently, this e-mail has been circulating since 1998, but the location changes as it forwarded.
"As a result of this incident, our procedures regarding the appropriate use of e-mail will be reviewed.
"Please disregard the e-mail and accept our apologies for any inconvenience it may have caused you. "
The notion of HIV-tainted needles strategically placed in public areas by nefarious folk is the thing of Urban Legend. We're told of a very specific incident of this supposedly happening, yet given no data (names, dates, exact location) to validate the story. We're then told that this is very common. I find it hard to believe that if 17 people had fallen victim to this crime in 2 months, the first we'd hear about it would be in an anonymously authored and haphazardly forwarded e-mail message.
You're more likely to get stuck by a needle that was inappropriately discarded by a diabetic or intravenous drug user, and even that is very rare outside of the health-care industry. According to the CDC, the "risk of [HIV] transmission from discarded needles is extremely low. CDC is not aware of any cases where HIV has been transmitted by a needle stick injury outside a health care setting." If you should be injured by a needle stick in a "community setting," the CDC recommends you contact your physician or go to an emergency room as soon as possible. A report should also be filed with local and/or state health departments.
Most people who receive this chain are skeptical, but pass it on "just in case." Unfortunately, this pack of alarmist lies benefits nobody, and only serves to spread fear and misunderstanding (and give the wrong people bad ideas). Break this Chain!