Last night I heard a horrifying story—one that still doesn’t quite make sense to me. I was chatting with a friend when she asked, “Have you heard that Facebook story about HIV-injected bananas? My cousin got one!” It sent chills down my spine. HIV what?
She went on to explain. Stories floating around social media sites like Reddit and Facebook have reported that select bananas and other fruit have been allegedly injected with the blood of HIV-positive individuals. The hype started over seven months ago with the report that a large quantity of blood oranges from Libya had been tainted with AIDS and HIV-infected blood and seized by Algerian immigration services.
“Except for rare cases in which children consumed food that was pre-chewed by an HIV-infected caregiver, HIV has not been spread through food. The virus does not live long outside the body. You cannot get it 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.”
Similar cases have surfaced closer to home. In Sioux Falls, SD, Karisa Neels shared a photo on social media in August of what she claimed was a blood-injected banana. Brian Monahan, manager of Sunshine Foods, claimed that what Neels found wasn’t blood, but redness caused by black mold. “Banana skin is so sensitive to everything,” Monahan said.
Perhaps the most popular post came from Grand Rapids, MN, where the obvious syringe injection site is clearly visible.
Months after the hype, my friend’s cousin received a tainted banana. She opened her banana (purchased from Walmart in Wahpeton, ND) only to find the middle of the banana hard and dark red with blood. She said, “Two other red streaks ran the length of the banana.”
Although the likeliness of contracting HIV through this method is minimal, it is still a sick, cautionary tale that should remind us daily to wash our produce and thoroughly check our food.
After all of this (whether or not the tales have any truth), I still ponder the motive. What reason would someone have to taint fruit with a fatal disease? Is this a sick move brought on by someone who is bitter about contracting the disease accidentally? Why on earth would you wish HIV/AIDS upon anyone? That notion is more grotesque than the tainted pieces of fruit themselves.
Featured photo via twitter.com