ATLANTA – With the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic being marked this month, public health researchers are unveiling a new interactive online map that provides the most detailed publicly available view of the number of people living with an HIV diagnosis in the United States by state and county.
The site, known as AIDSVu (www.AIDSVu.org), features data obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), and compiled by researchers at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. It is the first online tool to link state and county-level HIV prevalence data with local HIV testing sites, information about state AIDS drug assistance programs and estimates of the percentage of HIV diagnoses that are made late in the course of the disease.
Sample data visualization from AIDSVu.org
“AIDSVu shows us that every area of the country is affected by HIV, and we hope that AIDSVu helps individuals better understand HIV in their communities and take charge of their health,” says James W. Curran, MD, MPH, dean of Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.
“The high-resolution maps on AIDSVu let us see the parts of the country most impacted by HIV – and the places where we need to focus HIV prevention resources,” says principal researcher Patrick Sullivan, PhD, DVM, associate professor of epidemiology, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. “Knowing the areas most affected by HIV is critical for meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which calls for significantly reducing new HIV infections and improving care for people living with HIV.”
AIDSVu will be updated on an ongoing basis as new data and information become available. A technical advisory group guides the project with representatives from federal agencies, state health departments and non-governmental organizations working in HIV prevention care and research. Financial support for AIDSVu was provided by Gilead Sciences, Inc.
The site is being launched in advance of the 30-year anniversary of the first reported AIDS cases to the CDC on June 5, 1981. Today, more than one million Americans are living with HIV, and an estimated one in five people with HIV do not know their status.
Key features and findings of AIDSVu include:
- AIDSVu shows that the HIV epidemic in the United States varies considerably by geography. Some of the most heavily impacted areas include the Northeast and the South.
- AIDSVu provides zip code-level HIV prevalence data for New York City and Washington, DC, with plans for additional city-level zip code maps to be added in the future.
- The data on AIDSVu maps can be viewed by race/ethnicity at both the state and county levels. AIDSVu shows that HIV disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic Americans, and that these disparities exist in both major metropolitan areas and rural areas.
- The state-level information on the estimated number of people with HIV who are diagnosed late stresses the need for increased availability of earlier HIV testing. Nationally, an estimated one-third of HIV diagnoses are made late, when treatment may be less effective and people are at greater risk of unknowingly infecting others.
The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.