Another HIV Denier dead...

... From an infection that generally only affects those who are immunocompromised.



You all might remember me talking about Tommy Morrison:

HIV-1, HIV Denial, and boxing

HIV-1, HIV Denial, and boxing: Round 2

HIV-1, HIV Denial, and boxing: Round 3

Morrison died last week, at the age of 44.

"That's the way Tommy took off after he was told he was HIV-positive," Holden added. "When he first was told, I was taking him to seek treatment and to different doctors around the country. And then he started research on the Internet and started saying it was a conspiracy. He went in that direction and never looked back."

He never looked back. And now hes dead. Cardiac arrest after multiple organ failure due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa septicemia.



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Thank you for blogging about this one last time, Abbie. Hopefully, HIV/AIDS denialism finally will go away with their highest-profile denialist.

This post even inspired a tweet you may appreciate. Well done!

I have a question for you. I have been in an online argument with a creationist about ERV's. I remember you stated somewhere that humans shared 14 HERV's with chimp's and we picked up several after the species diverged. I am confused because I thought that 8% of our DNA is remnants of old ERV's. What is the difference the HERV's referenced by the small number and the large number that make up the 8%. Sorry to ask what may seem like a stupid question, maybe you could direct me to an article for information.
Thanks, Nathan

Not stupid at all-- Its a side effect of confusing viral nomenclature, and scientists being too casual in the way we speak.

8% of your genome is made up of ERV elements. That is, chunks and pieces of ERVs.

There are very few relatively complete ERVs in your genome.

Thus there are very, VERY few complete ERVs humans and chimpanzees have in common.

But we are only looking at the complete ERVs, here. NOT the vast vast vast majority of that 8% that are no longer complete. Scientists are not generally interested in the 8% crap because it is really hard to map (repeating nucleotides, nucleotides are very similar to one another, hard to differentiate) unless there is some kind of disease involved.

Nathan - There are a huge number of non-LTR retrotransposons (Alu elements and LINE elements) at orthologous positions in human and other ape species. They support the same argument as ERVs. I posted a figure generated from one of the genome browsers of corresponding segments from chimp and human:
Compare the SINE, LINE and LTR tracks between the human (above) and the chimp (below.)

Yes, totally tragic. Morrison was a world class athlete who would have been very likely have been able to stay healthy and active with the proper medical treatment. What a waste. Its not at all insensitive or exploitative to publicize these details; I hope they can convince someone that they do in fact need to take their meds.