HIV Needles

Classification Status

Urban Legend

Chain Mail



Scam   Related to  
"Dim bulb" Rating (Click here for details)

There are now a number of Hoaxes/Urban Legends that claim that HIV infected needles are being found on Gas (Petrol) Pump Handles, Cinema Seats, Payphone Coin Return Slots, Dance Clubs (Discotheques, etc), ATMs, etc. These stories have been regionalised  for most continents and countries, include the US, UK, Australia, India and probably many others.

This is a copy of one of the actual original hoax messages:

    ***********DANGEROUS PRANK:*****************
    Please read and forward to anyone you know who drives.

    My name is Captain Abraham Sands of the Jacksonville, Florida Police
    Department. I have been asked by state and 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 states.

    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. It is believed that these may be copycat incidents due to someone reading about the crimes or seeing them reported on the television. At this point no one has been arrested and catching the perpetrator(s) has become our top priority.

    Shockingly, of the 17 people who where stuck, eight have tested HIV
    positive and because of the nature of the disease, the others could
    test positive in a couple years. Evidently the consumers go to fill
    their car with gas, and when picking up the pump handle get stuck with
    of the gas pump each time you use one. LOOK AT EVERY SURFACE YOUR HAND
    MAY TOUCH, INCLUDING UNDER THE HANDLE. If you do find a needle affixed
    to one, immediately contact your local police department so they can
    collect the evidence.

    Further  information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web site at: .

This version of the Cinema variant  was found circulating in Australia during October 2001, which is based on a version that started in the US that has all the same details with the exception of the place and no mention of the DCC (was CDC in the original).

    Subject: A message from Red Cross blood service

    This is what the world is coming to...
    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. 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.

    Additional information is available at Australian Red Cross: which states the following:

    "Australian Red Cross Blood Service important notice:

    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. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you."

Please ignore these messages and don't pass them on, as there have been NO documented cases at this time of any of these things claimed happening.

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