Recently, in September of this year, a message started making the Facebook rounds that claimed a worker had put his HIV tainted blood into bottles of Pepsi products.
Most versions of the warning said to avoid all drink products from Pepsi including Pepsi Cola, Slice, 7UP, Tropicana Orange juice, etc.
The fear, of course, was that if you drink these HIV contaminated products, you could contract HIV/AIDS.
The basic message is the one below, shown in red, and other versions name the Delhi police, which means this rumor must have originated in India.
The original mistakes are left intact.
There’s news from the police. Its an urgent message for all. For next few days don’t drink any product from Pepsi company’s like pepsi, tropicana juice, slice, 7up etc. A worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with AIDS.. Watch MDTV. please forward this to everyone on your list.
As usual, the nonspecific nature of the claim should give you a clue. It’s not just a particular Pepsi product, but all Pepsi products are warned against, including Tropicana orange juice, which would not likely be bottled in the same location as Pepsi cola. At the same time, the fact that there is an attempt at “accurate details” and several Pepsi soft drink products are named plus Tropicana, is another giveaway. Whoever made the original post clearly took the time to figure out that Pepsi owned Tropicana, in order to give an air of legitimacy to the claim, but had a Tropicana product actually have been reported, undoubtedly, Tropicana juice products alone would have have been named, with no mention of Pepsi, and had another Pepsi soft drink product been contaminated, Pepsi would have been named with no mention of Tropicana. When you see messages like this, look for this typical combination of implausible details.
There was nothing to these rumors and such fearful claims have come up now and again since HIV/AIDS has been around. For instance, there was an email that claimed a man believed to be HIV positive had been caught placing blood in the ketchup dispenser of a fast food restaurant. Lest you get the HIV virus from a ketchup dispenser, the email warned, used individually wrapped packets of ketchup only. However, there was never any such incident reported to the CDC.
Furthermore, the CDC has never had any reports of HIV infections resulting from eating any kind of food or drinking any kind of beverage. The HIV virus is not an airborne or food-borne virus and it does not live long outside of the body. It is highly unlikely that you could get the virus by consuming HIV tainted food or beverage products. The virus itself would not live inside the product very long and even if you did consume a small amount of HIV contaminated blood, stomach acid would destroy the virus.
As you can see from the India connection, such rumors are in no way unique to the United States. They crop up all over the world in many different guises.