UNAIDS dispels the myth of contaminated chocolate products

SUVA, 14 March 2018:  A social media post featuring a man under arrest and being escorted by police because he allegedly contaminated chocolate products with HIV infected blood is being widely circulated. The posting requests people to avoid consuming the chocolate products for some weeks because of the alleged contamination. The postings make reference to a respected media source in an apparent attempt to establish the story’s credibility.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has made clear that it is not possible to contaminate a manufactured product such as chocolate with blood from a person living with HIV. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cannot live outside of the human body and can only be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions from infected individuals to an uninfected person. Individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day-to-day contacts such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal objects, food, or water.

The best and easiest way to take control over your own health is to know your HIV status. In Fiji, testing is free of charge and is available through the Ministry of Health and Medical Services at the Reproductive Health Clinics located in the Central, Western and Northern divisions. The testing at these clinics is confidential, and private hospitals and medical centres also offer confidential HIV testing at minimal cost.

While a cure for HIV is not presently available, a person may receive treatment to reduce the level of virus in the bloodstream. This treatment helps keep the immune system strong and a person living with HIV and remaining adherent to treatment can live a long and healthy life. In Fiji, the 2011 HIV/AIDS decree states that treatment is to be made available to all people living with HIV in the country.

“It is important that we have the correct information on the spread of any disease. Fake news such as the stories circulating on social media causes pointless panic and confusion. To prevent contracting HIV, it is simply through using condoms during sex, not sharing used needles, as well as reducing blood to blood contamination. UNAIDS encourages everyone to be more responsible when sharing content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as they are powerful tools for information sharing,” said Ms Renata Ram, UNAIDS Country Director.

UNAIDS Pacific Office | Kelera Dimaimuri| tel. +679 3310 0480 |dimaimurik@unaids.org

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners to maximize results for the AIDS response. Learn more at unaids-ap.org and connect with us on Facebook.


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