The University of California at Berkeley Well­ness Encyclopedia (1991) contains the following statement in its discussion of HIV testing: “In a high-risk population, virtually all people who test positive will truly be infected, but among people at low risk the false positives will outnumber the true positives. Thus, for every infected person correctly identified in a low-risk population, an estimated 10 noncarriers [of the HIV virus] will test positive” (p. 360).
a. Suppose you have a friend who is part of this low- risk population but who has just tested positive. Using the numbers in the statement, calculate the probability that the person actu-ally carries the virus.
b. Your friend is understandably upset and doesn’t believe that the probability of being infected with HIV isn’t really near 1. After all, the test is accurate, and it came out positive. Explain to your friend how the Wellness Encyclopedia statement can be true, even though the test is very accurate both for people with HIV and for people who don’t carry it. If it’s easier, you can make up numbers to put in a table to sup-port your argument.

  • CreatedOctober 22, 2015
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