ERV and HIV-1 on Skeptically Speaking

Just in case you missed it on Sunday, you can now download/stream my talk on HIV-1 with Skeptically Speaking!

#122 HIV and AIDS

BONUS: This recording includes a chat with Dr. Peter Leone on HPV too!


  1. #1 biopunk
    July 29, 2011

    Wear condoms everybody, and make Abbie happy!

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    July 29, 2011

    It Was a great show!

  3. #3 Justicar
    July 30, 2011

    *starting to listen now*
    Thanks for taking the time to put in some appearances on important matters, Abbie.

    Fuck wearing condoms to make Abbie happy, I’m going to start naming them. Mine come in flavors: Arnie, Abbie, and ERV. I’ve got a set named Twatson, but I’m told those are alternately either shit or cunt flavored. So, I don’t recommend them. =^_^=

    (Seriously, I’m wearing a condom right now – tied around my right ankle, just in case)

  4. #4 Justicar
    July 30, 2011

    Ok, I got distracted as I’m wont to do this week.

    I’m sure any topic I care to research in science, or anything that involves anything now that I think about, I’m could probably find some conspiracy nut somewhere who has an ideal to sell. But HIV as a weapon?

    Lieutenant, come here. In 200 years time, I want to conquer Europe. What do you have for that?

    Oh, um, nothing, sir. I’ve got a nice delivery system for nerve gas.

    How slow can you make that work?

    Meh, well, after I get caught releasing it in the mall nine or ten times, I’m sure they’ll stop me – how long will it take you to recruit my replacement?

    Not slow enough, dammit! *shoots lieutenant*

    Oh, sergeant, do you have a moment . . .

    Reminds me of a scene from Austin Powers where the little roller thing is coming at him and he’s screaming no. Then the camera pans out and it’s moving like a mile per week.

  5. #5 Mobius
    July 30, 2011

    Hi Abbie.

    I just got through listening to your talk. Great. You always sound so enthusiastic about you subject. So upbeat.

    You go girl.

  6. #6 mary
    July 30, 2011

    Great Show!

  7. #7 vhutchison
    July 30, 2011

    Abbie: Very well done, clear and concise answers and a good enthusiastic delivery.

  8. #8 Thanny
    July 31, 2011

    I don’t want to drag that other business into this topic, but did anyone else get struck, while listening to Abbie speak, how utterly absurd a notion it is to call her a gender traitor who’s parroting the sexist and misogynist patriarchy?

    This is a woman getting things done.

  9. #9 sasqwatch
    July 31, 2011

    Yes, it occurred to me somewhere deep in the background, Thanny.

    So very cool to hear this. Thanks, Abbie. As someone who has worked HIV 20 years in public health, it’s good to keep current. Your presentation (and Leone’s) were excellent and informative – even to a seasoned veteran.

  10. #10 Chas
    July 31, 2011

    Thanks for linking to this and thanks for doing such a great job at FreeOK. As a fellow Okie, you all did a great job of attracting people from far away and represent OK. You’re talk was probably the only one that gave me new information (although the other talk were good too, it wasn’t anything new) and you did a great job of educating all of us with your graphics.

    Saying this, it disappoints me that you would say such harsh things about Watson. Her talk was posted today, and although it was unfair of her to not give Stef a chance to rebut, it hardly warranted the moniker “twatson” (I honestly don’t know what would short of physically abusive behavior). And, since you are the wall crashing mule that you say you are, maybe you would proposition Watson to a chat on Bloggin Heads?

  11. #11 ERV
    July 31, 2011

    Very glad you liked it, Chas! First time Ive tried that talk before, so I didnt know… ­čÖé

    1– I criticized Watsons behavior several times before ‘Twatson’, the very first of which I challenged her to a discussion via aadrvark. I also tried to engage her on other blogs, where she was commenting. She avoided me at every turn. At this point I am entirely uninterested in engaging with her, as I view her as an internet personality interested in perpetuating ‘Rebecca Watson’, and nothing else. I am uninterested in being free advertising for ‘Rebecca Watson Inc’. Like ThinkingAtheists comment in the panel Q&A about how some YouTubers are in it for ‘self’?

    2– ‘Twatson’ is in response to her behavior post-EG and post-McGraw. I find it useful for highlighting the hypocrisy of ‘Skepchicks’ ie “Dear Dick,”–>”OMFG U SAID TWAT!”, and the hypocricy of her defenders as a whole “You are a liar and a misogynist!”–>”OMFG U SAID TWAT!”, “Fuck you sideways with a rusty knife”–>”OMFG U SAID TWAT!” On a personal level, I find her to be much more offensive than the word ‘twat’ implies, and I also find her/her defenders actions much more offensive than ‘twat’. Their behaviors are below the belt. But for me, poking fun at someones name is the lowest blow I am willing to take.

  12. #12 Chas
    July 31, 2011

    Ok. Well, it really was a good talk.

    I think the Q & A session started to nose dive when they brought up the Amazing Atheist and I thought it was odd watching You Tube personalities bemoan You Tube personalities with a “Look at me! Look at me!” attitude.

  13. #13 Chas
    July 31, 2011

    Also, I hope that posts your talk soon so that I can post it to my father-in-law’s FB wall. He’s a nonsensical debater so it would be better if he were to actually listen to you and watch your slides. He jokes about how he doesn’t want to vaccinate his youngest child because it made her upset and it doesn’t matter because all my children will definitely be vaccinated. I’ve tried to explain herd immunity but…

  14. #14 David
    July 31, 2011

    I enjoyed your interview on Skeptically Speaking. One thing I’m curious about is whether SIV would have jumped quicker/easier to humans because of our close genetic relationship to those monkeys mentioned?

    I guess one good outcome of l’affaire du Watson was that I ran across your blog reading about it.

  15. #15 highjohn
    July 31, 2011

    Very informative presentation.

  16. #16 ErkLR
    August 1, 2011

    LOL @ Arnie clomping and clanging in the background.

  17. #17 ERV
    August 1, 2011

    All squeaky toys were placed on high shelves before this episode was recorded… HE LOVES DEH SQUEAKAH!!! SQUEAKAH SQUEAKAH!!! Oh, are you on the phone? Excuse me. … … SQUEAKAH!!!!

  18. #18 windy
    August 1, 2011

    Good show! I liked the way you took the question about the cold virus @42:10 and turned it into something relevant despite the questioner’s confusion about retroviruses.

    Regarding treatment outside of the West (if South Africa qualifies), some good news recently on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.

  19. #19 The Armchair Skeptic
    August 2, 2011

    I finally got round to listening to his during my commute yesterday. Fascinating stuff. And Abbie, you did a great job at explaining it all for the totally uninformed, like me.

  20. #20 sasqwatch
    August 2, 2011

    I was cracking up at the dog noises, too.

    I congratulated Peter Leone on his interview, too — his response:

    It’s a good thing I am married, cause I would never get another date after the interview.

  21. #21 Mick
    August 2, 2011

    WAIT, WHAT? HIV crossed over to humans from SIV around the turn of the century? This was an excellent interview from start to finish, but that really blew my mind.

    Was there an exponential ramp of infections/deaths with such a low constant that it took a hundred years for us to notice? Was a shift in behaviorial factors responsible for making HIV hit the big time in the seventies and eighties?

    Has anyone looked at historical medical records and estimated numbers of HIV/AIDS deaths that we had no way of diagnosing?

    My head is sort of spinning right now; I had just accepted the mostly unspoken conventional assumption that HIV crossed over to humans only a few years before the public health crisis, it being so aggressive and all.

  22. #22 Sigmund
    August 3, 2011

    Mick, for a virus that can have more than one host, both of whom live in close proximity, there may be numerous occasions where it jumps to the other species. There may be other reasons, however, why it doesnt take hold in the second species in an epidemic manner. Prime examples of this type of transmission would be rabies, SARS and the various Ebola like diseases. If the disease is very aggressive in the second species it will simply kill the host before they have a chance to pass it on. Perhaps SIV was frequently passed to humans over thousands of years but the appropriate environment for a generalized spread within the population was not present until relatively recently. Better healthcare in general will keep people alive longer – hence more opportunity to spread the disease, and that, combined with migratory and urban lifesyles, prostitution etc, makes it much more likely that one of these occasional incidents of SIV transmission will reach an environment that propogates its rapid spread.

  23. #23 sasqwatch
    August 3, 2011

    Mick: one thing HIV is not is aggressive. It’s a fragile bugger which requires very specific modes of transmission for the most part, to get from host to host.

    If you were to map out networks of potentially transmissive events, you would find that the networks are tenuous – esp in places where there are no roads, and it’s generally tough to get around. Combine that with a huge latency period when there’s low amounts of virus in the blood, and you have a long, smoldering fire – outside of outbreak situations. Debate is happening about what fuels these outbreak situations at present, and I’m afraid very few are advocating for epidemiologists to be asking the right questions.

  24. #24 Chris Lindsay
    August 5, 2011

    I just listened to the episode. Nice job! I thought the questions were great, and your answers were clear and understandable. Thanks for the great science communication.

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