I remember when I was in school (can't remember if it was junior high or high school) that a rumor was spreading and people were getting all panicky. The rumor was to be careful when going to the movies because someone was pricking people with a needle or thumbtack that had AIDS infected blood on it, saying "Welcome to the world of AIDS" and then running off or something to that effect. I don't know how it got started but I was guilty about being a little more cautious when going to see a movie because of it.
If you've heard this one, allow me to put your mind at rest. According to Snopes, this urban legend is false. There are two reported incidents in 1996 and 2005 where someone sat on a needle at the movie theater but neither of the victims contracted AIDS or HIV.
So how did it get started? The pin pricked story actually dates back to the 1930s. In the New Orleans area, young girls were told to beware of the Needle Men. They were instructed to sit at the end of the aisle in movie house and not the middle unless they wanted to attract white slavers who would sit on either side of a girl, inject her with morphine and carry her out of the theater into a life of shame. Others feared the "Needle men" were actually medical school students harvesting cadavers for dissection. Women would die from poisoned-filled syringes and then delivered to a teaching hospital which were taken place in theaters and on the street. However, there was no proof that these men even existed.
The story behind the HIV-loaded needle began in 1989. Some black girls from New York City decided to play a prank. They jabbed pins into 41 random white women. Unfortunately, the media made it bigger than it was stating repeatedly the pins were tainted with AIDS. Upon arresting the girls, the police found no basis to the AIDS reports. Since then, there have been several similar incidents. Some people have even used AIDS-filled syringes for robberies. They aren't guns or knives but still affective weapons. There is only one report of someone getting HIV from being pin pricked though it was unrelated. An Australian prison guard was pricked with a needle by a HIV-positive inmate when his backed was turned. The guard later tested positive for the disease and died seven years later.
There are a lot of myths and legends about HIV/AIDS. I urge everyone to do your homework and get your facts straight on the disease instead of believing everything you hear.