Rumours are spreading via social media that HIV infected oranges are being transported into Algeria and other Middle Eastern countries from Libya.
The rumours claim that the oranges have been “professionally” infected with HIV infected blood via needles. The messages are spreading mostly in Arabic, though the rumour has also spread prolifically written in both English and French.
Just saw the following on Facebook: The immigration services of Algeria recovered a large quantity of these oranges coming from Libya. These oranges were injected with positive tested HIV & AIDS blood.
A bit more digging however and we’ve discovered even earlier appearances of the image, such as this Tweet dated December 13th 2014. This tweet, however, doesn’t mention Algeria or Libya, but instead claims the oranges were discovered in a market in Egypt. It also identifies the infection as “virus C”, though this may be a case of “lost in translation” (though could also refer to Hepatitis C). Translated, the tweet reads –
Beware of oranges in the Egyptian market anonymous detected it right tainted blood virus c check the safety orange alkharh first
Going back even further and we have this post from buraimi.net which is dated December 9th 2014 and seems to discredit the story further. The translated story attached to this webpage reads in part …
…and inspection proves authenticity of news where he found there was no truth to the story that has been shared notes Consumer Protection …
In any case, the assertion that oranges are being used to carry the HIV/AIDS virus doesn’t make any sense, since, as the CDC notes, the virus cannot survive outside the human body for any prolonged period of time. For the virus to pass on via food, the food would have to be consumed in a matter of moments from the point of infection. Obviously oranges being transported from one country to another would long surpass that amount of time.
HIV infected products have long been a staple component of Internet folklore. Most popularly the rumour that a disgruntled employee infected a shipment of Pepsi drinks with HIV infected blood, as well as another hoax that claimed unscrupulous criminals were hiding HIV infected needles under gas pumps.
This latest incarnation of HIV related scare-lore highlights such rumours aren’t going anywhere fast.
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