Wednesday, 20 June 2012

AIDS, BE TESTED, BE WISE AND TESTED AGAIN

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. The most dramatic conflicts are perhaps, those that take place not between men but between a man and himself -- where the arena of conflict is a solitary mind.

Although a lot of progress has been made in improving the length and quality of life for people with AIDS, getting a positive result from an HIV test must still rank as one of the worst pieces of news a person can get, as agreed by a publisher and many more.

The split in you is clear. There is a part of you that knows what it should do, and a part that does what it feels like doing. Which always result many uncompromising conditions. But at dusk the beautiful epitaph reads, "I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith".

It's not uncommon for people to kill themselves right after hearing the results, and those who don't commit suicide surely go through all kinds of mental anguish. But the accuracy of these tests is lower than generally believed. In fact, if you test positive but you're not a member of a high-risk group (such as non-monogamous gay men and intravenous drug users), the odds are 50-50 that you actually have the virus.

Remember that when you meet your antagonist, to do everything in a mild agreeable manner. Let your courage be keen, but, at the same time, as polished as your sword.

To be declared HIV positive, your blood goes through three tests two ELISA tests and one more sensitive and costly Western Blot test. Makers of the tests trumpet a 99.99 percent accuracy rate when all three are used. Many AIDS counselors even tell people that the tests never give a false positive (that is, the tests don't indicate that someone is HIV positive when he or she really isn't).

Instead of suppressing conflicts, specific channels could be created to make this conflict explicit, and specific methods could be set up by which the conflict is resolved.

The test manufacturers' claim is misleading, and the counselors' claim is flat-out

The fibers of all things have their tension and are strained like the strings of an instrument.

BS. Cognitive scientist Gerd Gigerenzer , who specializes in risk and uncertainty, explains the reality in plain English: Imagine 10,000 men who are not in any known risk category. One is infected (base rate) and will test positive with practical certainty (sensitivity). Of the 9,999 men who are not infected, another one will also test positive (false positive rate). So we can expect that two men will test positive.
Out of these two men, only one actually carries the virus. So, if you're a low risk man who tests positive, the chances are even the same as a coin flip, that the result is right. It's highly advisable that you take the tests again (and again).

Only by pride comes contention; but, with the well-advised is wisdom.

The results are even less reliable for women in low risk groups, since they have a still lower rate of HIV.

The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is week.

Of course, this doesn't apply to an HIV negative result. If you test negative, the odds are overwhelmingly good (9,998 out of 9,999) that this is correct. It also doesn't hold for people in high risk categories. For example, if we accept the estimate that 1.5 percent of gay men are HIV positive, this means that out of every 10,000, an average of 150 are infected. An HIV test will almost surely pick up on all 150, and out of the remaining 9,850 uninfected men, one will incorrectly be labeled positive. This means that only one out of 151 gay men will be falsely diagnosed as having HIV. A false positive is thus still possible but much more unlikely.

When our knowing exceeds our sensing, we will no longer be deceived by the illusions of our senses.

What good is it if I talk in flowers while you're thinking in pastry?