Health-Threatening and Life-Threatening Tests
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/06/18
One of the worst aspects of standard HIV/AIDS practices is the failure to emphasize the unreliability of “HIV” tests. For example, a recent press release touts a self-administered HIV test:
“Orawell USA Helps Patients Discover the Presence of HIV Antibodies As Early As Three Months after Transmission
Following, is information from Orawell USA regarding some of the latest statistics concerning new scientific findings about how long after exposure it takes for the HIV virus to become visible in the human body.”
“ORAWELL means accuracy to the fullest.”
“Of the 1 million people in the United States living with AIDS, there are approximately 20 percent of patients that are unaware they have the disease. Doctors suggest that people be tested for AIDS annually if they have participated in any activity where exchange of bodily fluids has occurred, such as blood and semen. However, only about 10-20 percent of people in the US are tested each year. . . Today, because of scientific breakthroughs, one could test for HIV antibodies in the privacy of his or her home and have results within 10 minutes.
Orawell is an Oral HIV rapid test that tests for HIV1/2, and is recommended by doctors, and is proven to be more than 99% accurate. . . . The kit comes with tools that allow patients to collect a sample of saliva and place it on a test panel for analysis. After 10 minutes, the panel should display the results as positive or negative. . . . Orawell HIV1/2 rapid test is as simple as taking a home pregnancy test. It is affordable at $29.99 and is available on Amazon and http://www.orawellusa.com.”
Par for the PR press-release course are the deceptive claim of scientific breakthroughs and the typically deceptive citation of unnamed “doctors” who recommend this test as well as annual testing. Specific to HIV/AIDS matters is the failure to point out that detection of HIV antibodies does not mean infection by HIV, and that in fact there is no test at all for HIV infection — no laboratory test, no gold standard for such a test [Weiss & Cowan , “Laboratory detection of human retroviral infection”, Chapter 8 in Wormser (ed.), AIDS and Other Manifestations of HIV Infection, Academic Press, 4th ed., 2004].
Perhaps most damaging is the entirely misleading claim that the tests are 99% accurate. Any reasonable person must take that to mean that if one tests positive, there is at most 1 chance in 100 of a false positive, at most 1 chance in 100 that one is not “HIV-positive”. However, it’s a very basic mathematical, statistical, fact that the chance of a false positive depends not only on the purported accuracy of a test but also on the prior probability of being “HIV-positive”:
If the prevalence of some condition — call it “Z” — is at a low level in a population, 1% say, then out of an average 100 tested persons 1 will actually be Z-positive. A test that is 99% accurate means that i of every 100 tests will be wrong. So with population prevalence of 1% and test of 99% accuracy, there will be an equal number of true positives and false positives, 1 per 100 in each case. In other words, there is a 50% chance that an apparent, reported, “positive” is in reality a false positive.
The prevalence of “HIV-positive” in the United States is well under 1%, so the average chance of a false-positive test is greater than 50% with tests of 99% specificity and sensitivity.
The damage is considerable to any individual classed as “HIV-positive”: It’s a severe psychological blow (also to the individual’s family and associates), and in many cases becomes physical harm as well owing to “treatment” with the highly toxic medications.
It is simply unconscionable that people are urged to take HIV tests without being told of the high probability of a false positive and the damage potentially accruing from that.