Thanks to social media, the so-called “Welcome to the HIV world” urban legend has made a triumphant return. Its latest version was shared on Facebook by user Jerremiah Kriziah Bataller.
Bataller described it as the “craziest, sickest, scariest thing” she has heard in her lifetime. She went on to describe a story that supposedly happened to a female student from University of Santo Tomas’ Alfredo M. Velayo (UST-AMV) College of Accountancy.
“As she was walking with the crowd, she felt her arm grow a little heavier. When she looked to check, she saw a syringe plunged in her arm with a note that said ‘Welcome to the HIV world.'”
“At first, she thought it was nothing; a prank made by attention-seekers. She decided to have herself checked in the UST Hospital, just in case. Her result was HIV positive.”
It sounds like a horror story, I know. Almost unreal. But you can be sure I’ll be keeping myself away from crowded places for awhile.
Before you follow her lead and avoid Recto just because of this viral post, it is worth pointing out that according to Snopes.com, “pin-prick attack” stories has been going around in the United States since the 1990s.
Now, it’s time to look at the claims made in this post:
1) Can someone be infected with HIV in the manner described above?
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV “does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce.”
2) Can someone know immediately if he/she is HIV positive?
The same website explained the concept of a “window period,” the period after a person may have been exposed to HIV but before a test can accurately detect the infection.
In other words, a negative result today does not necessarily mean that you don’t have HIV especially if a person has engaged in risky behaviors. A follow-up test after three months is highly recommended.
*Now, next time you visit Divisoria-Recto area, watch out for snatchers – not imaginary pin prick attackers.