Needles infected with HIV: a tale of terror or reality?

Иглы, инфицированные ВИЧ: страшная сказка или реальность?

Needles infected with HIV: a tale of terror or reality?

Author: Katerina Moskalets



The girl came to the cinema, sat in the chair, suddenly jumped from a sharp pain. Of the seat was sticking a syringe needle, and next to it was a note: “You have HIV”. A story recently published online Feedy TV.

Stories about “AIDS terrorists”affecting random victims of HIV-infected needles in movie theaters and other public places, circulated on the Internet since 1998, and the people go in the early 1980s.

Here are just 2 stories from the lips of people allegedly faced with a similar situation.

Old rumors

“Be careful next time you go to the cinema. These people can be anywhere! I had no words after what happened with a friend of my brother’s wife. Please send this to everyone I know. It happened in the cinema Bombay”s Metro (one of the best in the city)”.

“PLEASE CHECK THE CHAIRS, COMING TO THE THEATER!!!! The incident occurred when an employee of my friend sat in a chair and something stung her. She stood up and found that it was a needle with a little note at the end. It said: “Welcome to the real world, you are HIV-POSITIVE.”


As found, the resource Snopes, with the first hearing on a malicious infected by AIDS information about similar cases have surfaced in different parts of the world — in Mumbai (Bombay), Hawaii, Dallas and Paris.

Despite the huge number of horror stories, most law enforcement officers consider them to be inventions of the fans of conspiracy theories.

“It’s all lies, says Sergeant Jim Chandler, the press Secretary of the Dallas police. — This was not, and we ask people to stop sending such messages to friends… Police and ambulance staff are forced to respond to a situation, which actually was not”.

Article on Feedy TV was a modern retelling of the urban legend 20 years ago. Recently, however, in the US, a new wave of alarm messages. Supposedly the needles found in the slots coin returns in soda machines, payphones, etc., gave a positive result for HIV. A few weeks ago about a similar situation in one of the cinemas wrote in Melbourne.

Degree of risk: experts

Columbia University Professor Nabila El-Bassel, who founded the Center for the study of global health, told how high the risk to get accidentally pricked with HIV-contaminated needle.

Иглы, инфицированные ВИЧ: страшная сказка или реальность?Columbia University Professor Nabila El-Bassel

The risk of infection ranges from 0.2 to 0.5%, even though the degree of probability depends on the amount of blood in the needle, its size and the depth of penetration. Source of blood in the planted needles is usually unknown, injury does not occur immediately after use. The needle rarely contains fresh blood. But any virus “dries” and is weakening under the influence of the ambient temperature. Therefore, the probability that HIV can be transmitted from needle left in a public place is very small, “—said the interviewee

Professor of immunology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) and winner of the prestigious award Hardy Cinader Award Michael Grant, told our newspaper: suspicious needle in a public place, you should immediately contact the clinic so the doctors safely removed it and sent for examination.

Иглы, инфицированные ВИЧ: страшная сказка или реальность?Professor of immunology Memorial University of Newfoundland Michael Grant

If someone is accidentally pricked with a needle was found, he should contact the infection control officer to determine whether prevention after contact, “said Dr. Grant.

Where did horror stories grow legs

Ghost stories scare Americans from 1980-ies. However, the horror story even older and not related to HIV. Unpleasant story really took place in New Orleans in the 1930-ies. Then, young girls were warned to beware of Needle Men — “calevala”. Mom strictly ordered the daughters to sit in the cinema until the end of the number, in any case not in the middle, not to fall into the hands of traffickers, who worked in pairs. “Kaliveli” sat on either side of the girl, injected her with morphine and withdrawn drugged victim from the theater.

Why is urban horror stories so tenacious? They can feed off our fear. In the early twentieth century girls were terrified of becoming a victim of sex trafficking, and in 1980-ies the scourge of humanity has become AIDS and there was a new cause for global panic.

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