A hoax email alleging that someone was infected with HIV by sitting on a used needle in a cinema has been circulating widely across the UK in recent weeks. The scare story has been repeatedly forwarded on causing unnecessary panic.

The email alleges that the needle has a note attached saying “you have been infected with HIV” and that similar events have been reported in several cities. It also appears the email has been sent to, and circulated within, police forces and schools.

Nick Partridge, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust said, “This is an urban myth that has been circulating for years. It has no basis in reality. There has never been a transmission through this route. HIV is quite difficult to pass on except in specific ways, for example through unprotected sex. Everyone can rest assured that sitting in a cinema presents no risk of contracting HIV.”

Terrence Higgins Trust is urging those who receive this email to delete it without forwarding it on.

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