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Reply to a chain letter on AIDS spread

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I received the following forwarded chain message a few days back. I was saddened

and concerned to see the wrong propaganda. To this, I have prepared a reply

which I am attaching for your kind perusal and comments.

The chain message: Subject: Shocked to know. AIDS spreads like this

A 10 year old boy, had eaten pineapple about 15 days back, and fell sick, from

the day he had eaten. Later when he had his Health check done, doctors

diagnosed that he had AIDS.

His parents couldn't believe it. Then the entire family under went a

Checkup. none of them suffered from Aids. So the doctors checked again with the

boy if he had eaten out. The boy said " yes " . He had pineapple that evening.

Immediately a group from Mallya hospital went to the pineapple vendor to check.

They found the pineapple seller had a cut on his finger while cutting the

pineapple , his blood had spread into the fruit.

When they had his blood checked the guy was suffering from AIDS.

But he himself was NOT aware. Unfortunately the boy is suffering from it now.

Please take care while u eat on the road side (particularly tasty vada pav &

Paani Puri) and pls fwd this mail to your dear one's.

My response: Dear All,

I am glad I am a recipient of this forward. I am a professional counsellor and I

work especially in the field of HIV. I am glad the world is thinking about this

challenge and feels concerned. In the absence of any vaccine yet, correct

knowledge and action is the only prevention from this dreaded disease.

I would like to take this as an opportunity to educate you on the right picture

of HIV transmission. This not only helps you in protecting yourself but also in

saving yourself the distress of panic through false propaganda. More over, in

the daily walk of life, we never know who amongst us is HIV+. The best is to

take the universal precaution and not worry about the rest.

1. HIV can enter our body only through our blood and the

Parent-to-Child-Transmission. Here we are not talking about the

Parent-to-Child-Transmission. I would explain about other ways we can get HIV

a. The virus is present in the body fluid of the infected. The body fluids are

namely, blood, sperms or vaginal ( I will call it ‘sexual fluids for simplicity)

fluids, sweat, saliva, urine.

b. Of these, the sweat and saliva have not known to transmit the disease as the

concentration of the Virus is not enough to transmit the disease. Therefore you

will never see on any information on the routes of transmission of the disease

that this spreads by kissing or hand shakes or sharing of the same plate of food

or the spoon or the tea cup. It does not even spread by using the same toilets,

or bed or towel or clothes. Definitely HIV (I am only talking about HIV and not

ALL diseases) does not transmit through any other mode other than the four

routes of transmission mentioned all over. There are many campaigns in the media

to stop false information to reduce the panic amongst general population,

through celebrities who encourage people not to discriminate pointlessly.

c. The sexual fluid has heavy concentration of the Virus. During the unprotected

penetrative sexual intercourse, it enters the blood stream and spreads the


d. The Blood is another carrier of the virus, but this too needs to enter the

blood stream of the receiver to infect. This happens mostly during blood

transfusion and sharing of an infected needle. It has not been documented that

this happens through the oral route. Thus the boy who ate the pineapple and with

it the blood of HIV could not have been infected with HIV due to the infected


2. In 15 days it cannot even be diagnosed (by the most commonly used testing

method), let alone the child to have developed any symptoms or AIDS. This

disease remains dormant for several years and only starts showing sings much

later. This virus hardly has any symptoms of its own. It simply destroys our

immune system gradually. Due to the lack of deficiency of the immune system, our

body contracts many ailments, and this causes the threat. For all this to

happen, it takes several years. Even children, who are born with the virus, have

known to live to be adults. Therefore, this 10-year old boy could not have had

any symptom from the day he allegedly contracted HIV. It has to be some other


3. We are educated people living in an informed society. While it is good to be

concerned about issues concerning our safety and well being, it brings certain

responsibility. Those are not to believe in the discrepancies accrued by

unauthorized sources of information against the authorized sources. If at all

such new information sound convincing, please re-check with other authentic

sources before you believe in them with certainty to try and influence others.

Such actions just clutter our minds with unnecessary fears, in the world where

we already have more than enough share of troubles and worries.

4. The HIV patients themselves are no threat to any body unless we choose to be

irresponsible about the universal precautions one need to take. If HIV were to

spread this way, the correct information would be disseminated.

Please try to retrace the route of this mail and send the correct information to

all from whom you have received and sent this forward.



Chandni Sahai

e-mail: <chandnisahai@...>

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