Dé Máirt, Iúil 13, 2010
Bullshit or Not?
"Desperate Addicts Inject Each Others' Blood"
Desperate heroin users in a few African cities have begun engaging in a practice that is so dangerous it is almost unthinkable: they deliberately inject themselves with another addict’s blood, researchers say, in an effort to share the high or stave off the pangs of withdrawal.
The practice, called flashblood or sometimes flushblood, is not common, but has been reported in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on the island of Zanzibar and in Mombasa, Kenya.
It puts users at the highest possible risk of contracting AIDS and hepatitis. While most AIDS transmission in Africa is by heterosexual sex, the use of heroin is growing in some cities, and experts are warning that flashblood — along with syringe-sharing and other dangerous habits — could fuel a new wave of AIDS infections.
“Injecting yourself with fresh blood is a crazy practice — it’s the most effective way of infecting yourself with H.I.V.,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which supports the researchers who discovered the practice. “Even though the number who do it is a relatively small group, they are vectors for H.I.V. because they support themselves by sex work.”
Now, has there ever been a case of a skaghead injecting a friend's blood to hold off withdrawal, either in darkest Africa or other places? Probably so, in fact I'm afraid almost certainly so. Obviously you could not possibly find a more reliable means of spreading HIV or any other killer bug. Obviously throwing prostitutes (and thus the second most reliable means of spreading disease) into this equation is a horrific prospect.
But is this actually so widespread as the article implies? It certainly does have a whiff of Jenkem about it. You may have heard about the minor panic over strapping American lads toking shit vapors, and how this panic was based on nothing more than the word of a couple of paranoid and priggish small-town cops. What you may not know is that there is nothing to confirm this practice existing in Africa beyond the fact that the BBC and some Zambian police say so, and that everyone knows those filthy Africans will do anything.
Just as with these stories of 'flashblooding' I'm sure that there really have been some sorry bastards somewhere who actually did ride the brown dragon. It's the implied premise that this is what the cool kids in Zambia do on Friday nights that remains dubious. And as for flashblooding; well if it's as real as the NYT says it is, then everyone in Kenya will be dead in ten years, so I guess we'll know then.