Mount Sinai warns of fake HIV/AIDS notification letter


Hoax advisory gives appearance of coming from the Mount Sinai Hospital

(New York) -- A cruel hoax letter purporting to be a warning from The Mount Sinai Hospital that the recipient may have been exposed to HIV/AIDS has been sent to a number of individuals over the past few weeks.

The phony, unsigned letter cryptically advises recipients that someone with whom they have had sexual contact has tested positive for the Human Immune Deficiency Virus and suggests that they be tested themselves. It claims to be from an "HIV/AIDS Notification Service" at Mount Sinai. But there is no such service at Mount Sinai and the letter is a complete fabrication.

The letter, produced on faked Mount Sinai letterhead utilizing graphic elements apparently lifted from the hospital's web site, has been received by nearly a dozen or more individuals in New York, Connecticut, California and Washington, D.C. The text is identical to another fake letter, purporting to be from Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia, that recently has been received by a number of businesses and individuals in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Mount Sinai has been unable to determine the source of the letters, nor any connection to, or relationship with, Mount Sinai on the part of any of the recipients.

The situation has been brought to the attention of appropriate government agencies and referred to the office of the Manhattan District Attorney for review and investigation.

Anyone who has received such a letter is asked to contact the Mount Sinai Investigations Unit at 212-241-0801.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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