Ohio: HIV Data in E-Mail Fake, Local Health Officials Say
June 2, 2004
In a joint statement issued Monday, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County health department officials said a widely circulated e-mail about HIV in area high schools is a hoax, and the statistics it cites are not factual.Adapted from:
The e-mail claims that the American Red Cross (ARC) discovered hundreds of cases of HIV among teenage blood donors following blood drives at several Cleveland-area high schools. ARC routinely tests all units of blood for HIV, officials say, but the statistic cited in the e-mail, which has been circulating for several weeks, are false.
ARC Northern Ohio Blood Services Region collects more than 208,000 units of donated blood annually from all age groups, but only about five units test positive for HIV. The cumulative total of teenagers with confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS living in Cleveland now is 25, the health department said.
Teens typically donate about 15 percent of Red Cross blood units, said Cleveland Medical Director Dr. Wendy Johnson, who worries that the hoax could decrease donations. Johnson noted that there is no risk of acquiring HIV through donating blood. The identity of the e-mail's author is unknown, she said. Questions about the matter should be directed to the Cleveland Department of Public Health at 216-420-8504.