A message is being widely circulated on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp which asks people to avoid consuming Cadbury products for few weeks since a person had added HIV-contaminated blood in Cadbury chocolates.
The message was circulated with an image of the person who supposedly contaminated the product and also falsely stated that the same information was shown on BBC news.
This message is a hoax since the HIV virus cannot live and multiply outside its host body. However many people believed it to be true.
Widely circulated fake news
With the growth in technology, it has become very convenient to connect to people around the world. However, on a flipside, any piece of information, whether genuine or not, sometimes get shared widely if proper attention is not paid to the source of information.
The fake news regarding contaminated Cadbury products is not a one-off incident. Exact same messages with only different name of the company were shared in past too.
Also, the image of the person apparently responsible for “contaminating” the food item is also attached with the message. The image is actually of Aminu Ogwuche, the Nigerian accused of masterminding the April 14 bomb explosion in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja.
This kind of hoax and unverified news are responsible for perpetrating unnecessary fear in the minds of people. The fears and apprehension among people are further intensified since these messages also falsely claim that the news is verified by leading news platforms, for example, in case of Cadbury products, the message said that this piece of “news” was shown on leading news channel, BBC.
Is HIV transmitted through food?
It is important for all of us to make decisions based on facts and not rely on plain hearsay.
Cases like this not only highlights our gullibility but also point to how ignorant we are about such a fatal disease.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
HIV is transmitted only by specific means. Only certain body fluids like blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from a person who has HIV can transmit HIV. For HIV to be transmitted, these fluids must come in contact with damaged tissue or have to be directly injected into the bloodstream.
The most common causes of HIV transmission are- having unprotected intercourse with someone who has HIV, by being stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or syringe, from mother who is having HIV to child during childbirth and breastfeeding or by receiving blood transfusions, blood products, or organ/tissue transplants that are contaminated with HIV.
Coming to the main question, does HIV transmit through food? The answer is no.
According to US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV cannot be transmitted through food handled by HIV infected person. CDC in its note said,”You can’t get HIV from consuming food handled by an HIV-infected person. Even if the food contained small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus.Though it is very rare, HIV can be spread by eating food that has been pre-chewed by an HIV-infected person. The contamination occurs when infected blood from a caregiver’s mouth mixes with food while chewing. The only known cases are among infants.”
We are living in a time where there is an abundance of information, however, this doesn’t mean that everything we read or hear is true. It is important for us to look out for facts. Another important duty is to educate others about fake news/information. The Logical Indian encourages everybody to verify any piece of information that they come across, before sharing.