Health Department Sends Alert After Prank Calls - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/9/09

Health Department Sends Alert After Prank Calls

Last week several people called the health department saying an employee had tried to reach them to tell them they were HIV positive.

Health officials didn't think too much about it until Monday morning when three more people came in saying the same thing.

"We received several phone calls (Monday) from folks informing us that they have received phone calls at their home and messages left on their answering machines that someone from the health department is trying to contact them, that they've been diagnosed with HIV and they need to come down here and be seen," says public health coordinator Beckie Brawley.

Brawley says The City of Lubbock Health Department has seen this kind of prank before with calls about Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, but never with something as serious as HIV.

"When you see someone doing this, telling people they have HIV and need to be tested that causes a great panic, and so I think this is why this has brought so much attention because of the panic factor."

Brawley says the bottom line is the health department will not leave a detailed message or discuss specific diseases over the phone.

"We would never, never leave that on an answering machine, and never leave a message for someone in the home to tell the person we're trying to contact. That's just not our policy."

Brawley says when someone tests positive for any sexually transmitted disease the health department will ask for names of any partners so they can come in for testing.

If you receive or have received a similar phone call or message, contact the health department at 775-2933 for more information.

We asked the Lubbock Police Department if any charges could be filed on the person making these alleged phone calls. They tell us right now it looks like it would be a civil issue rather than a criminal case.  

 

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