Wednesday, April 05, 2006

hoax emails: the hidden HIV needle

Last week I was sent an email warning. There are a few different ones going around at any one time and they’re usually pretty far out and prey on peoples insecurities and deep fears.

This one was about someone hiding a needle in a cinema seat so that the next person that sits down is pricked and consequently contracts HIV.

The fact is that HIV can’t live outside the human body for very long – less than 30 mins I think (could be wrong there).

This really annoyed me and because it was made to look like it was from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service I decided to investigate and squash the rumours.

Here’s the letter that is sent around to people to whip them up into a frenzy of panic and fear:

From: Red Cross Blood Service

A few weeks ago in a movie theatre in Melbourne a person sat on somethingthat was poking out of one of the seats.

When she got up to see what it wasshe found a needle sticking out of the seat with a note attached saying aquote; You have just been infected by HIV quote;.

The Disease control Centrein Melbourne reports many similar incidents have occurred in many otherAustralian cities recently. All tested needles are HIV Positive.

The Centre also reports that needles have been found in the cash dispensersin ATMs. We ask everyone to use extreme caution when faced with this kind of situation.

All public chairs/seats should be inspected with vigilance andcaution before use.
17 people have been tested positive in the Westernsuburbs alone in the last 2 months!!!

A careful visual inspection should beenough.In addition they ask that each of you pass this message along to all membersof your family and your friends of the potential danger.

We all have to becareful at public places! This is very important. Just think about saving alife of someone even you don't know by forwarding this message.

Please, take a few seconds of your time to pass it along.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service
Ph: (08) 94212877
Fax: (08) 94212366

So being the good detective that I am, I emailed a letter to the addresses attached to the letter and (not) to my surprise the addresses were fake.

The next letters went directly to the real ARCBS. Their response below:

Thank you for contacting the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) regarding the broadcast HIV warning e-mail you received.

Although the message to which you refer appears to have been transmitted through the ARCBS e-mail system, it was NOT an official transmission.

It appears the HIV warning e-mail is a HOAX, similar to those publicised through the following Web site:

Apparently the hoax e-mail has been circulating since 1998, but the location changes as it is forwarded.

As a result of this incident, our procedures regarding the appropriate use of e-mail have been reviewed.

Please disregard the hoax HIV warning e-mail and accept our apologies for any inconvenience it may have caused you.

National Marketing and Communications Team
Australian Red Cross Blood Service


Anonymous said...

Suppose it's not so much about the HIV & moreso the fact that a good jab in the posterior could very well ruin your cinema experience. And then there is always rust poisoning. Hoax aside, it is questionable as to what sort of person your are if you have no qualms about just plonking yourself down, without inspecting, in the dark.

Sassan Sanei said...

Next time you use a public telephone, don't forget to check the earpiece and buttons for traces of LSD and strychnine. It gets absorbed through the skin of your ear and the combination is fatal! Apparently this is some sort of gang initiation thing. Also if you flash your headlights at an oncoming car with its lights out, they are gang members who will turn around and kill you as part of their initiation.

Ah, email hoaxes, gotta love them...

Deb said...

And don't forget that we are boycotting Pepsi for removing the reference to God on their label, and that we shouldn't eat tacos from Taco Bell because of hidden roach eggs that will infest and hatch out in our gums.

I believe all this stuff you know.