This is the sort of story that you wish was merely an urban legend. Recently, a man in Beijing taking a cab from Wudaokou was jabbed by a hypodermic needle hidden, for reasons unknown, in the back pouch of the front seat, where magazines are kept. Apparently the syringe broke skin on his right knee. When he saw there was fluid inside the needle, he became very worried and had it examined at the Chaoyang District Disease Prevention and Control Center.
The man, surnamed Xu, soon got word that the fluid contained the HIV virus.
The news hit him “like a bolt from the blue,” according to the video (translation errors in subtitles are mine).
But hold on, there’s some good news and bad news. The good news is Xu initially tested negative for the virus, though he has to be checked three more times in three months to verify. The bad news?
As South China Morning Post notes (from behind a paywall):
The man was preparing to take his girlfriend to visit his parents as a prelude to proposing. But when she learned of the incident, she ended the relationship.
We do hope, for their sake, they get back together in three months when tests confirm Xu is clean. In the meantime, he should feel heartened by this:
Scientists and medical authorities noted that HIV does not survive well outside the body, making the possibility that he is infected remote.
Lun Wenhui, a doctor at Ditan Hospital, told the Beijing newspaper that the HIV virus needed optimal temperatures to survive outside the body. He said the case was a freak accident and urged the public not to panic.
Nonetheless: what a nightmare.
UPDATE, 8:05 pm: Not sure how I overlooked this detail earlier, but it seems important. SCMP again:
The taxi driver said he had picked up three women passengers before the man but had not noticed anything suspicious.
Police have declined to open an investigation, classifying the incident as accidental injury.
Declined to open an investigation? As Natalie Nitofsky points out on Twitter, that sure seems fishy.
Then again, police can be quite lazy chaps, so maybe they’ll change their minds about that investigation after sufficient public pressure mounts.
Or maybe our man Xu was having an affair with someone he discovered was HIV-positive and needed an alibi for his girlfriend just in case he tested positive. That’s crazy, of course. But crazier than being accidentally jabbed by an HIV-laden syringe in the back of a taxi?
On August 27, results of the unknown substance samples by both Center For Disease Control And Prevention of the city and the district show positive for HIV-1.
The Beijing Public Security Bureau said via its official microblog @平安北京 that the police is now trying their best to investigate and they also call on citizens to provide useful clues. Insiders may call 110 to contact the police.