Friday, January 08, 2010

Drunkard’s Walk

Mlodinow’s doctor told him chances are 999 out of 1,000 that he’d be dead within 10 years. That was because Mlodinow’s HIV test came back positive.

The HIV test produced a positive result when the blood was not infected with the AIDS virus (false positive) in only 1 in 1,000 blood samples. So the doctor concluded Mlodinow has a 1 in 1,000 chance of being healthy.

Was Mlodinow’s doctor correct?

The following information may be useful. Mlodinow is white, heterosexual, and does not abuse drugs. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 10,000 heterosexual non-IV-drug-abusing white male Americans who got tested were infected with HIV.

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