HIV Infected Needles Hidden Under Gas Pumps, Movie Seats: Fact Check



Beware of HIV Infected Needles Hidden Under Gas Pumps, Movie Seats and other public places!

In Florida and other places on the East Coast a group of people are putting HIV/AIDS infected and filled needles underneath gas pump handles, so when someone reaches to pick it up and put gas in their car, they get stabbed with it. 16 people have been a victim of this crime so far and 10 tested HIV positive.
Instead of posting that stupid crap about how your love life will suck for years to come of you don’t re-post, post this. It’s important to inform people, even if you don’t drive, a family member might, and what if they were next?
Check Under The Handle Before You Grab It!!! It Might Save Your Life!
Tell as many people as you can about this serious issue!!!!

Other Versions 

1. A dangerous prank going around.
My name is Captain Abraham Sands of the Jacksonville, Florida Police Department. I have been asked by local authorities to write this email in order to get the word out to car drivers of a very dangerous prank that is occurring in numerous cities.

Some person or persons have been affixing hypodermic needles to the underside of gas pump handles. These needles appear to be infected with HIV positive blood. In the Jacksonville area alone there have been 17 cases of people being stuck by these needles over the past five months. We have verified reports of at least 12 others in various states around the country.

Image about HIV Infected Needles Hidden Under Gas Pumps, Movie Seats

2. Recently, a girl who went to the movies, sat down in one of the theater seats, and felt a stabbing pain. She quickly stood up and found the needle of a medical syringe sticking out of the seat. There was also a note that said, “You have been infected with HIV”. The Centers for Disease Control reports that similar events have taken place in several other cities recently. All of the needles tested HAVE been positive for HIV. The CDC also reports that needles have been found in the coin return areas of pay phones and soda machines.

Fact Check:

The messages, in several variants claim that some people are affixing hypodermic needles infected with HIV positive blood to the underside of gas pump handles. And people who pick up these gas pumps to fuel their vehicles are stabbed with these hidden needles and are claimed to have tested HIV positive subsequently. Although they sound scary, these warning messages are not facts.

Popular, Old Messages

The HIV warning messages through infected needles inside gas pump have been circulating through emails and social networking platforms for over a decade now. The older versions of these warnings also included HIV infected syringe attacks in seats of movie theaters, dance clubs and return slots of pay phones.

HIV Infected Needles Hidden in Public Places?

If these messages were facts, and caused deaths of so many people, they would have definitely made into mainstream news – which is not the case. The Abraham Sandy version of the story has been circulating through emails since June 14, 2000. At that time, the the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office received more than 1000 phone calls and emails inquiring about these emails. They declared the message as hoax then, also saying that Sheriff’s office never had a Captain named Abraham Sands. The names and stories mentioned in these messages are simply made up to spread panic, and are not facts.

Response of U.S. CDC

Although there is a possibility of HIV infection when you are stuck with a needle contaminated with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are no documented cases of HIV transmission outside of a health-care setting. CDC explains about these HIV warnings saying:

CDC has received inquiries about used needles left by HIV-infected injection drug users in coin return slots of pay phones, the underside of gas pump handles, and on movie theater seats. Some reports have falsely indicated that CDC “confirmed” the presence of HIV in the needles. CDC has not tested such needles nor has CDC confirmed the presence or absence of HIV in any sample related to these rumors. The majority of these reports and warnings appear to be rumors/myths.

Outside the body, the HIV virus lives for a short while. The virus can stay alive only until the HIV infected blood remains liquid. HIV virus dies soon after the blood dries out – this only takes few minutes.

So, these HIV warnings of hypodermic needles are hoaxes, meant to create panic among people. Similar rumors in the recent past said one of the workers at Pepsi had contaminated the drinks with HIV positive Blood. The messages need not be shared. But yes, it is good to be careful with any such needles or syringes. They can be harmful and spread other infections.

Hoax or Fact:



Calls about e-mail hoax flood Sheriff’s Office
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – HIV Transmission
How long does HIV virus survive outside body

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Prashanth Damarla