Warning over list of 'women spreading HIV' in Hull posted on Facebook
SEXUAL health awareness volunteers are warning others after a list of "women spreading HIV" in Hull was posted on the internet.
The unknown Facebook user, posing as a business in the city, has posted five names of women to more than 200 "friends" of the profile, saying they are "spreading" the disease by having unprotected sex.
A total of 19 people have gone on to share the message with their own Facebook friends, meaning it could have been seen by thousands of users.
It is not known whether or not the five women have the disease, which can lead to AIDS.
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Andy Train, organiser of Hull's annual Pride festival and chairman of the LGBT Forum, reported the page to the website's administrators, as well as contacting Humberside Police.
He said: "I was told unless the women come forward I would need to report it to Facebook.
"A friend pointed it out to me, so I reported it straight away.
"It's been online for a week and nothing has been done.
"Somebody needed to stand up and say 'this is bad behaviour and it's not acceptable'.
"It could be a wind-up but it's very concerning because it has put fear in people and could have legal implications."
Andy said he believes the Facebook profile is a fake account promoting a business in the city, which has no control over it and was unaware of the post.
"It's bizarre that someone would want to interact with people in a false way," Andy said. "It's good that people want to be safe and warn others, but disturbing that it has being done like this, naming the women online.
"It's hard to believe that these women would purposely spread HIV and one in four people don't even know they have it.
"This message has scared a lot of people. The comments could be defamatory and it's just disgraceful."
The Mail is not revealing the title of the public Facebook profile or the names of the women involved.
The business named on the profile said it has also reported it to Humberside Police.
A spokesman said: "Someone rang us up on Boxing Day and we all reported it individually on Facebook and to the police.
"It's hard to believe it is still up there and they are promoting themselves using our name."
Andy said he hopes administrators at Facebook will do something about the site as soon as possible.
He said: "This is a warning to people to practice safe sex but I'm also not happy about users engaging in gossip on social media sites, which could potentially harm others."
• Update, 11am: The page has been removed from Facebook this morning. It is not clear whether it was taken down by Facebook or by the creators of the page.