Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/06/26
Here’s an illustration of how to lie with statistics. Have the media disseminate estimates as though they were facts:
“Few sexually active teens in US get HIV test — CDC
Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:08pm EDT
CHICAGO, June 25 (Reuters) – Nearly half the HIV-positive U.S. adolescents and young adults are unaware of their infection, and less than a quarter of sexually active high school students are tested for the virus, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.”
— Unnamed “officials”, easily confused with “experts”
— “Nearly” half giving a spurious sense of exact knowledge
— Giving a number for something that cannot be measured
“Only 22 percent of sexually active high school students are tested for human immunodeficiency virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an analysis using data from a 2007 survey of students in grades 9-12 (ages 14-18).”
— “Sexually active” is self-reported, of course
— So is being tested, since that’s confidential
“people aged 12 to 24 represented 4.4 percent of the estimated 1.1 million people in the United States infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Yet they represented 10 percent of the estimated 232,700 people living with the virus without knowing it.”
— It cannot be known how many are “infected” without knowing it.
— CDC models for the “epidemic” have been shown to be invalid in a number of respects, see The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.
— Note the misleading precision of “232,700”; so much more impressive than being honest and saying “about 230,000”. Even were the models valid, they couldn’t be more precise than that.
“HIV testing was more common among students who had ever been taught in school about AIDS or HIV infection than among those who had not”
— Hurrah for successful propaganda.