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Bad Manners and Good Gossip

« A Parable by Hank | Main | Money Talks »

August 10, 2006


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Good and fair responses, all around.

I will consider putting up a post that highlights, once again, the frailties of this testing modality.

In the meantime, I accept HB's future caveat: "if we accept that the tests mean anything... which they don't."

I think that has to be placed firmly into every discussion, for the primary reason that it is true.

For the roundness of argument, I'll accept the lovely Rebecca's notes on greet them where are --- but with that subscript in place: "there is no such thing as an HIV test."

Whatever else is being fought, whatever brand of microbiological existentialism is being bandied, the reality is that the tests function as the scarlet letter that puts the rest of the hypnosis over on folks who have never been given a fair read of the contentious material surrounding the paradigm...

So, do it for me, and email me when it comes up in debate. I'll show up.




Hey all. I was just looking at the "Words of Rebecca Culshaw" thread at Tara's Aeitiology blogsite, and it seems that Tara is trying to spank the rethinkers with the "New and Improved" politcal statements of Nancy Padian posted on Moores Aidstruth.

Ole honest Abe Lincoln is over there stating the obvious, but wow, seems like you shook them all up Hank with your Padian Report.


Hope Rebecca had a chance to learn something about HSV-2 transmission before Hank deleted the post


I am not Dr. Culshaw, and did not have a chance to read your educational posting re HSV-2. Perhaps you would care to reposition it. If you do, I trust you will provide in context quotations and full citations for any literature you cite. You have no authority as an anonymous automobile to expect any one to take you at your word.


The frequency of genital HSV-2 acquisition increased with the reported frequency of sexual activity and was 0.35 per 1000 sexual contacts among the susceptible partners of valacyclovir recipients, as compared with 0.68 per 1000 sexual contacts among the susceptible partners of placebo recipients. The respective rates of acquisition among susceptible women were 0.60 and 1.27 per 1000 sexual contacts and, among susceptible men, 0.23 and 0.35 per 1000 sexual contacts.

Despite counseling, 37 percent of the couples reported at each monthly visit that they never used condoms for vaginal or anal intercourse at all during the study, 20 percent reported that they used condoms more than 90 percent of the time, and 43 percent reported that they used them between 1 and 90 percent of the time.



Indeed, you have educated us all on the difference between a study that can report real data and one that draws its quantitative conclusions from meta-statistical withcraft.

It does of course absolutely nothing to call into question anything at all Dr. Culsahw or others have written, none of which is based on the made up out of tattered cloth estimates Padian et al. produce.

You might also take note of perhaps the most critical point of this study in regard to the matter udner discussion here. Namely, a real infection was documented sufficient number of times to make rather precise estimates of the contact rates, and when combined with the number of infections in the population this indeed makes for a relatively easily transmissible agent. Compare this to the 10 years of 0 that the multicenters found.


If the couples in the Padian study had been discordant for HSV-2, what % probability would there have been that she'd've seen no transmission of HSV-2?


Hi Pontiac. I would assume, if the odds ratios you reported earlier are generally considered accurate, and have been replicated in other studies, then it would be safe to assume that if the couples in Padian were tested for HSV-2, the odds of transmission would have been exactly the same as found in previous studies.


I need no calculator, nor does anyone else, nor any knowledge of statistics to answer your 'question' Pontiac.

If HSV-2 was even close to as difficult to horizontally transmit "in the wild", like they say, as HIV-1 (2...n) there would never have been an actual outbreak of genital herpes in the US that affected almost everyone.

And though I have not checked, I believe the CDC estimates of prevalnce in the US population for 25 years are not constant.

Darin Brown

I seem to remember this particular herpes paper coming up at aetiology several months ago. It's one they love to bring out to confuse people. Do a google search for her site and the thread will probably come up.

This is a typical example of "you don't believe pigs can fly just because someone tells you pigs can fly". If HSV-2 were really this difficult to transmit, there never would have been an actual herpes outbreak in the US.

I remember the first time this article was mentioned at aetiology, it blew my mind. Pigs can't fly, people.

Darin Brown

I don't remember precisely, but the particular study I read said they strongly counselled all participants to abstain from intercourse during outbreaks, which is of course the very time when it is easiest to transmit HSV-2, way easier than during asymptomatic periods.

I have read that

(a) 50 million Americans over age 20 have antibodies to HSV-2

(b) ***When couples abstain from intercourse during outbreaks***, the annual risk of transmission is roughly 5-10%

The conclusion seems pretty obvious to me: a lot of people have sex during outbreaks. Big surprise.


Thank you Dr. Brown. Mea culpas. 1. I was too lazy and enjoying my grandchildren too much to take any additional time to read the link Pontiac sent and since it appeared to be from a NEJ paper, and reported precise rates, I assumed the rates were representative of what the Pontiac wished them to be.

A little while ago, as I was trying to take a well deserved nap, I did some "back of the envelope" mental calculations using the 1 per 1000 figure as a real value and a million infections and assuming a million encounters per week, and could not produce anything except the most pitiful arithmetically increasing number of infections, which I knew could not represent anywhere near the number of herpes cases in the O so promiscuous USofA. I was disturbed and about to adjust my previous comment about that rate x a *lot* of infections and therefore a lot of contacts could easy transmission make. Now that I see how the study was done, I can return to my nap time without losing my few remaining marbles, and only need mea culpa 2, that my instant "quantitative" explanation was made of fluff, and not the 'fluff' that dreams are made of :).

None of this of course does anything to make the meta-statistical, invented rates of Padian any more reliable.


Mr. Pontiac,

What model are you may I ask? I just checked the link you provided, expecting to find an abstract at least of the paper whose findings you confidently reported, and to discover that like the Padian paper one needs to actually read what is written in the body to learn what the researchers actually did and found. I was perfectly willing to chalk this up to one more instance of the sloppy scholarship of those who would rather die than admit the NIH and Pasteur and Wellcome Trust and CDC and WHO might be a bit mistook in their 25 years of global pandemic death doom and destruction.

But it was worse than that man with the moniker of an automobile running on one cylinder and 4 flat tires, the link opens on the NEJ online registration page and even were I to take advantage of their FREE offer of limited access to special papers 6 motnhs old or older, I would not have been able to discover whether this was among the specials since you gave no bibliographic citation.

When I was a university professor if any student had dared to follow instructions as plain as the ones I issued you with such contempt, they would have been thrown out of my class with no discussion and no reprieve.

And so: To the junk heap with you.

Gene Semon

Another quite "comprehensible" way to put it, consistent with Peter Duesberg's molecular assessment(no cell-free transmission): No, absolutely zero evidence of heterosexual (or MTC for that matter), transmission of a "viral load"; given the known structural instability of the so-called virions, it is biologically impausible.

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