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HIV Tracking Technology Could Pinpoint Who's Infecting Who 203

Posted by timothy
from the yet-you-say-you-were-in-burma-at-the-time dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "No man is an island, but evolutionarily, each person functions like one for the HIV virus. That's according to Thomas Leitner, a researcher working on a project aimed at creating technology for tracking HIV through a population. The technology, which is being studied at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, may allow people to identify who infected them with the virus, a development that could have major implications in criminal proceedings. "If you're familiar with Darwin's finches, you have a population of birds on one island and they keep moving and evolving as they spread to other islands so that each population is a little different," Leitner said. "With HIV, it's the same. Every person infected with HIV has a slightly different form of the virus. It's the ultimate chameleon because it evolves this way.""
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HIV Tracking Technology Could Pinpoint Who's Infecting Who

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  • Sorry, but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by broginator (1955750) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @10:09AM (#45481313)
    whom*
  • Hopefully (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @10:11AM (#45481327) Homepage Journal

    I really do hope we're past the point that any major governments are populated with people that view AIDS as a "gay plague", because otherwise, I can easily see petty local leaders using this research to arrest sick people and charge them with murder.

    • I'd argue the benefits outweigh the risks with this particular development. If your version of HIV is found spreading, then, yeah, you should probably face some legal consequences. Meanwhile, if there's a politician and voters out to just go gaybashing, they can and do do that already, they don't need to bring complicated things like scientific facts into it.
    • Not in the US. Why HIPAA. We have so much privacy especially in HIV cases, that it will take an act of congress to allow sharing of data.

      The extra regulations for HIV is due to the public and governments view of AIDS as a disease for the bad people in the world.
      Due to its initial high rates among Gay, and Drug users, then spreading to Sexual promiscuous people... All the stuff that your local minister tells you is quite evil and you are going to have to deal with the wrath of god for.

      Now this is a public

    • I think what they will find if they do this research large scale is lots and lots of people who infect one or two others, and a relatively small ( 5% ) number who infect lots and lots of people. Either because they don't know they're infected or they don't care. Showing how the network of infections is laid out can lead to better prevention, better diagnosis, and even better treatment since some strains of HIV respond better to some drugs than others.

    • Re:Hopefully (Score:4, Informative)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday November 21, 2013 @04:47PM (#45485243) Homepage Journal

      Sick people who know they are sick with a sexually transmitted disease, and then have sex anyway, ARE GUILTY OF MURDER. Doesn't matter if they are homo or hetero.

      • Sick people who know they are sick with a sexually transmitted disease, and then have sex anyway, ARE GUILTY OF MURDER. Doesn't matter if they are homo or hetero.

        HIV is famously stealthy. A test won't even come up positive right after you get it.

  • If both the vector and recipient have dozens of varieties due to internal mutations, it would be hard to legally connect the two.
    • by Fwipp (1473271)

      You're right, there can be a large amount of difference even between co-infecting strains. However, there's quite a lot of potential variant sites - you can sort of think of it as a large multi-dimensional problem, which thousands of axes in which you can see variation. If strain A differs from strain B at 50 sites, and strain C from strain A at a separate 50 sites, A and C can have anywhere from 0-100 differences.

      You can use some pretty simple formulas to estimate what the "infecting" strain looked like fo

      • If strain A differs from strain B at 50 sites, and strain C from strain A at a separate 50 sites, A and C can have anywhere from 0-100 differences.

        Correct me if I'm wrong, but if strain C differs from strain A at 50 sites, then isn't it true that A and C have exactly 50 differences? In other words, it's false that A and C can have anywhere from 0-100 differences?

        ~Loyal

        • by Fwipp (1473271)

          Shit. I meant B and C, thanks for catching that!

          • If strain A differs from strain B at 50 sites, and strain B from strain C at a separate 50 sites, A and C can have anywhere from 0-100 differences.

            Oh, well. You're welcome. I'm still confused, though. If strain A differs from strain B at 50 sites, and strain B from strain C at a separate 50 sites, then isn't it true that A and C have exactly 100 differences?

            ~Loyal

            • by Fwipp (1473271)

              They can share some, all, or none of the sites. I really did a bad job explaining that. :X

              • They can share some, all, or none of the sites. I really did a bad job explaining that.

                If they shared some or all sites then they wouldn't be a separate 50 sites, no?

                ~Loyal

    • Nonsense. HIV has 9200 base pairs in its genome [wikipedia.org]. 12 mutations in the recipient aren't likely to completely overlap with 12 mutations the donor contributed.
    • "legally"?
      Who cares about "legally"? ...

      Today on "Maury" (cue music): "Are YOU the infecter?"

      (louder music, blurred images of people arguing)
      Belinda slept with both HIV-positive John and HIV-positive Marc!! Never used a condom!
      (Audience: Boo!!)
      After the break, we'll tell you which one is responsible for her infection!
      Or is there another person involved?
      After the break! Stay with us!
      On Maury!
      (cue music)

      • You know it will furn out to be neither of them, and Belinda will be back four or five more times, with a different Possible infecter each time. Each time swearing that he has to be the one.

        For the record, I love the Maury show, and and Springer. They make me feel SO good about myself. No matter how badly I screw up, I am not on either show, so I know it isn't that bad. :)
        • Nah, she got it from Jimmy from the car shop when she traded a brake job for a blowjob.
          Judge Mathis/Judy/whoever, in an unusual crossover, will walk on stage and order her to pay the garage owner for the work.

          Oh, and this [youtube.com]

  • Who's infecting whom.
  • I'd say it's the people with HIV infecting the people who did not have HIV. I don't think you can get it twice
  • I wanna get PAID. The implications will be far more profound in the tort law landscape as this technology is extended to be able to pinpoint the identity of someone who gave you any generic disease.

    Think big. Think HPV, Hepatitis, Herpes, and the whole range of STDs.

    Imagine the payout if you can prove that a wealthy person gave you the HPV that caused your cervical cancer? Imagine the payout your family will get if you die from it.

    Trial lawyers are absolutely salivating over this, and I would not be surpris

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      In Canada and several other countries I can see this being useful. Since, deliberate infection of incurable diseases is criminal, and infecting someone with a disease that causes death is also criminal. No tort coming into this at all.

      • Laws that criminalize certain acts do not preclude the victim from *also* suing the perpetrator.

        In fact, a guilty verdict in the criminal case strengthens the civil case.
        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Laws that criminalize certain acts do not preclude the victim from *also* suing the perpetrator.

          Tort is very well defined many other countries unlike in the US, where it's excessively broad. Compensation is included into the criminal judgement, which can be appealed if it's felt to be too low.

    • by Shados (741919)

      Think bigger.

      The common cold. Next time I'm under for half a week or more, I want to know who's the asshole who didn't wash their hands before taking the subway...

  • Grammar (Score:5, Funny)

    by Laxori666 (748529) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @10:41AM (#45481673) Homepage
    Surely you mean who's infecting whom? Let's get our priorities straight: grammar first, world-changing health improvements second.
  • So we are going to post everyone's names and addresses ( and photos too) on the web of who is infected? Its for the kids remember.

    Will just drive people underground and make them afraid to get tested.

    • What's funny is for a while it was taboo to even list that a patient had HIV on medical records (doctors did it anyway). It's a condition that's had lots of privacy barriers thrown around it in the US, because we want to protect these people from persecution.

      As if I'm going to brutally beat and/or stab someone who has AIDS, because I really want to die slowly from a scrape I got on my knuckle while punching the living shit out of someone until they're bloody hamburger.

      I've always said that we need the

      • bracelets? why not go full retard and make them wear, oh, I don't know, how about some 6 pointed stars on their sleeves?

        I think it was done before, though...

        • Yes, then people would know to beat them until they bleed into a scrape, so that they could then contract HIV from them and get their own sleeve wear. Soon we will all be able to own star sleeves!

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        As if I'm going to brutally beat and/or stab someone who has AIDS

        You may not, but some will. They will also discriminate at work due to lack of understanding and irrational prejudice. They might deny infected citizens housing or not let them eat in a restaurant or enter a grocery store.

        Labeling anyone in public is a potential effective death sentence, regardless of the particular disease. This isn't the something as typhoid where you can be infected just from being in the same room, unlike HIV where you are safe. And even then the person should just be isolated until th

      • by Velex (120469)

        You know what?

        Fucking go for it.

        I'm a transsexual homosexual transgendered from Transsexual, Transylvania. I'm destroying America, and my time-travelling estrogen caused 9/11.

        You know what?

        I HAVE NO FUCKING STDS.

        So do it. I don't give a shit.

        You might just unintentionally label a bunch of womyn-born-womyn who have children with 5 different men as diseased, though. Are you sure you can handle that?

  • How about a test to show who gave who crabs. That's always a controversial topic, or so I've been told.
  • by Yakasha (42321) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:37PM (#45482751) Homepage
    I knew about the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. But not the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Virus.
    FYI, that joke was generated with a PHP Preprocessor on my IBM Machine.

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