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Malta may be Europe’s most LGBTQ-friendly country, but that doesn’t mean the nation is free from ignorant politicians, as a recent incident involving a member of parliament clearly shows. A nationalist MP named Edwin Vassallo, reportedly one of the party’s most conservative, has received considerable backlash on social media after he posted an image warning people of “AIDS-infected bananas.”
When your eyes are done rolling into the back of your head, continue reading.
A post resembling a completely absurd urban legend was shared by Vassallo on Facebook (above). The post, which asks people to “please share,” warns people of bananas that have been injected with the blood of HIV-positive people in order to kill anyone who consumes them.
“That is Satanism,” the post reads.
Now, in case it still needs to be said, no, AIDS-infected bananas aren’t a real thing. Get serious.
Luckily, it seems those who stumbled across Vassallo’s post about AIDS-infected bananas took him to task for sharing such ridiculousness. Check out some of these responses, courtesy of Malta Today:
“As an elected MP you should be evaluating such posts before scaring people … according to this food safety centre, HIV cannot be transmitted through food,” one good soul said, posting a Hong Kong food safety authority link. “If you cannot decipher a lie on Facebook, how can people trust you?”
The flood of truth-loving opprobrium was merciless: “Check your sources before sharing fake news”; “False news”; “Fake news. Please check your sources”; “It beggars belief how people in your position think that they can just share rubbish like this. This is misinformation and fake news, and it hurts those who live with HIV. If you can’t find it in your Christian conscience to be kind, at least try not to be so gullible.”
“Sources should be checked before sharing especially from someone in your position. Adding to the stigma which is already present around HIV is not helping anyone and if anything is causing more problems. Malta has a rising number of people with HIV and I would expect that you would want to educate and provide beneficial information to society as opposed to spreading false information and fake news.”
More succinct pearls included: “Please leave Planet Earth.”
AIDS-infected bananas can’t be a thing, because HIV doesn’t live long once it’s outside the human body, which means it cannot be transmitted via food or water. Even a piece of food containing HIV-infected blood (or semen) wouldn’t be harmful, because exposure to the air would rid the virus, even before stomach acid would destroy it.
The Malta MP has reportedly deleted the Facebook post following the backlash.