Hazare fast:Fear of HIV through needle unfounded

Mumbai: Ahead of Anna Hazare`s fast, the AIDS Society of India has dubbed as "misinformation campaign" the threat to inject the Gandhian and his supporters with HIV-contaminated needles, saying such fears were unfounded.

"It is difficult to contract HIV, as the virus does not survive outside human body for long. Virus dies as soon as blood dries. HIV contaminated blood, supposedly used for pricks like the ones described, doesn`t pose any real risk of transmission," Dr Ishwar S Gilada, Secretary General of the AIDS Society of India, said.

Delhi Police had recently received a letter that threatened to infect Hazare and his followers with HIV virus contaminated needles, if they remained adamant on Lokpal agitation.

The anonymous letter stated that "a needle team, which has prepared 500 HIV positive needles, would inject the virus in at least 1,000 people at the demonstration".

"Ironically, such stories arise from the national capital and have a potential to create major panic among the people, particularly among those associated with Hazare`s campaign," Gilada said.

Unfounded theories of HIV spread through casual contacts, needles, eatables and water make panic-stricken people run for help and testing, he remarked.