No HIV in Pepsi? Now THAT'S a Relief

December 14, 2011

Paul E. Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, M.D., is director of the HIV Program and Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

How reassuring to be treated with the following news:

An SMS has been circulating that Pepsi products are contaminated with HIV but Permanis Sandilands Sdn Bhd has clarified that this is a hoax. Its marketing vice-president Hemalatha Ragavan said there was no truth to it. She urged people not to believe such claims.

I have a couple of thoughts about this breaking story.

First, we all know that texting -- without other confirmation -- is now the preferred current medium for obtaining important health information. And you can see how the text reads like the work of a highly-respected public health official:

for d next few days, do not drink any product from pepsi company like pepsi, tropicana juice, slice, 7up, coca cola, etc,,as a worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with HIV. watch NDtv ... please 4ward this 2 every 1 u care about ... ok. Please note seriously

Second, the company issuing the denial -- "Permanis Sandilands Sdn Bhd" -- should think up a new slogan. "Come on board, it's time to be COOL, have FUN and DARE FOR MORE!" is not not going to cut it among hip Malaysians.

Paul Sax is Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital. His blog HIV and ID Observations is part of Journal Watch, where he is Editor-in-Chief of Journal Watch AIDS Clinical Care.

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This article was provided by NEJM Journal Watch. NEJM Journal Watch is a publication of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
See Also
10 Harmful Myths About HIV/AIDS

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