Rumor: Someone Put HIV+ Blood in Pepsi Cola!

01
of 01

As shared on Facebook, Sep. 16, 2013:

Pepsi-Cola
Netlore Archive: Rumor circulating via text message and social media claims Pepsi products have been purposely tainted with HIV-positive blood. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Description: Rumor / Hoax
Circulating since: July 2011
Status: False (see details below)

Example #1:
As shared on Facebook, Sep. 16, 2013:

There's news from the police. Its an urgent message for all. For next few days don't drink any product from pepsi company's like pepsi, tropicana juice, slice, 7up etc. A worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with AIDS.. Watch MDTV. please forward this to everyone on your list.


Example #2:
As shared on Facebook, Nov. 29, 2011:

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM DELHI POLICE.... 4 next NEXT FEW DAY DNT DRINK ANY PRODUCT FROM PEPSI, TROPICANA JUICE SLICE, 7UP, COCA COLA, ETC , AS A WORKER FROM D COMPANY HAS ADDED HIS BLOOD CONTAMINATED WIT AIDS. Watch ND TV. Plez Forward dis mesge to every 1 u care 4 plz


Example #3:
As shared on Facebook, Nov. 29, 2011:

Fyi,
This is the news from delhi Police..........
urgent and imp msgs for all please fwd this to all of them for whom you care, Msg: For next few days dont drink any product from pepsi company like pepsi. slice,Tropicana juice, 7 up etc as a worker from the companys production dept has added his blood contiminated with Aids (HIV +ve) Watch Ndtv for more news


Example #4:
As shared on Facebook, July 23, 2011:

URGENT!!!!!! ALERT!!! Please DO NOT DRINK any PEPSI SODA, a worker from the company has put blood CONTAMINATED with AIDS inside the BOTTELS!!! Please forward this!! No jokes NOT taking any chances.... Check the news


Analysis: Did a Pepsi-Cola worker put HIV-contaminated blood in bottles containing Pepsi products? No.

Does the question sound familiar? It should.

Versions of the same rumor have made the rounds previously, in 2004, and again in 2007-2008. In those previous instances the food products allegedly contaminated with HIV-positive blood were ketchup and tomato sauce, but the status of the claim was the same: false. No legitimate sources, media or governmental, have reported any such occurrence. Moreover, even if such an incident had occurred, it would not have resulted in the spread of AIDS. So say medical experts.

No one is saying that it's absolutely impossible for HIV-tainted blood or other bodily fluids to find their way, accidentally or on purpose, into foods and beverages; the point is that, according to the best scientific evidence available, the AIDS virus simply can't be transmitted from one person to another in that way.

This is how the CDC explains it:

HIV does not live long outside the body. Even if small amounts of HIV-infected blood or semen was consumed, exposure to the air, heat from cooking, and stomach acid would destroy the virus. Therefore, there is no risk of contracting HIV from eating food. [ Source]

As stated in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet last updated in 2010, no incidents of food or beverage products being contaminated with HIV-infected blood or semen, and no incidents of HIV infection transmitted via food or beverage products, have ever been documented by the agency.

See also:

Rumor: HIV+ Blood in Ketchup Dispenser
Urban Legends, 26 November 2008

Rumor: HIV+ Blood in Tomato Sauce Dispenser
Urban Legends, 26 November 2008

Sources and further reading:

HIV Transmission: Questions & Answers
Centers for Disease Control, 25 March 2010

Last updated 03/15/15