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Re: Fw: This is not a joke.

Sigh... you can always tell these Internet hoaxes when they conclude
with "...pass this to as many people as possible."

Heres the story from the Mining Company's Urban legends and hoaxes page

More AIDS / HIV Sneak Attacks

Dateline: 10/07/98 

One of the more popular themes in urban folklore is "Trust no one."
Amidst the fast-paced, impersonal hubbub of city life, every stranger is
a potential murderer and any one of us could be their victim. 

Consider the persistent urban legend which solemnly warns of anonymous
evildoers sneaking up on random victims in crowded night spots to prick
them with an HIV-contaminated hypodermic needle. 

There's no evidence that any such attacks have ever actually occurred,
but variations of the same story keep spreading by word of mouth and
email and turning up in every part of the world. 

A recent example is this email warning, circulating since September: 

Subject: Be careful! 

This is sick. Please pass on to those you know who go to the movies. 

*************************** Subject: Movie Theatre Alert 

I'd like to share this note that was sent to co-workers in my sisters
office. It happened to one of her friends and it can happen to anyone of
us. If you must go to the movies, please, please check. One of the
safest way is not by sticking your hands between the seats, but at
least, move the seat part up and down a few times and really look. A lot
of us just plop down into the seats... 


Please check your chairs when going to the movie theatres. An incident
occured when a friend's co-worker went to sit in a chair and something
was poking her. She then got up and found that it was a needle with a
little note at the end. It said "Welcome to the real world, you're HIV

Doctors tested the needle and it was HIV+. We don't know which theatre
this happened at, but it happened here in Hawaii. Be cautious when going
to the movies. 

This very closely resembles an earlier warning which took the Internet
by storm four months ago. In that version, the victim was said to have
been pricked with an HIV-contaminated needle in a crowded cinema in
Bombay, India. She allegedly found a note which read: "Welcome to the
world of AIDS." 

Another message circulating at roughly the same time reported "gangs
running around Britain sticking HIV-infected needles into people and
then handing them a card/leaflet reading 'Welcome To The World of HIV.'" 

Even before the email rumors appeared, similar stories were spreading by
word of mouth. In March, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported
allegations that a high school student in Escondido, California had been
assaulted with an HIV-tainted syringe at the Ice House, a local night
club. The syringe (left behind by the attacker?) supposedly bore the
(now familiar) message: "Welcome to the world of AIDS." The
Union-Tribune found the rumors to be false, but by the time the story
appeared, business at the night club had already dropped 50 percent due
to panic. 

The rumor has reportedly circulated in other big cities such as Toronto,
New York, and Philadelphia. This Usenet posting from last month cites a
typical instance: 

Recently I was told a story by a workmate concerning someone whom he
knew, by sight at least, who was out for a night on the town. During the
course of the night he felt a slight pin prick. Later on he discovered
that he had been stabbed probably with a needle and then went on to
discover that he had contracted the H.I.V. virus.

Taking such testimonials at face value, we'd have to conclude that at
any given time and place there are a whopping number of sneaky
assailants out there covertly infecting people with AIDS. Yet, so far as
I've been able to determine, not a single victim anywhere has stepped
forward to report such an assault to police. I haven't come across one
case of an "HIV sneak attacks" on a random victim documented in the
media. There are simply none on record. 

It's a folktale. As such, it gives visceral expression to a
conglomeration of fears we all share about life in the 1990s: every time
we go out in public, we face circumstances beyond our control (often out
of control); AIDS is a deadly disease of epidemic proportions for which
there is still no known cure; and malevolent madmen walk among us. 

If you boil the legend down to its essence, it conveys a trite but true
message: Life is risky. It's something we all have a gut feeling about,
of course, but rarely do we affirm it consciously. Sometimes what it
takes is a good horror story to usher those subconscious fears out into
the light of day. 
Ron Force
Dean of Library Services			(208) 885-6534
University of Idaho				Moscow 83844-2350

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