Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mapping HIV

I've been meaning to write this post for quite a long time. Months ago, I discovered AIDSVu.org, an initiative by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in partnership with Gilead Sciences  that tracks HIV in the U.S. The data comes from CDC.

As I liked what I saw, I wrote some quick notes but, as it often happens, completely forgot about them. Then, three weeks ago I met some of its creators at the World Conference of Science Journalists, where I gave a talk (here's a summary of what I said.) I promised that I'd recover the notes and publish them, as this is a visualization project that is worth your time.

Once you enter the AIDSVu.org, it'll locate you —if you don't block location services— and display statistics that pertain to your area. After that, you can jump to a national map with tons of filters:



Or you can look for HIV testing and care sites, or learn how to use the maps and the underlying data for other purposes. You can also explore your own region. Here's my ZIP code:


The website also has “infographics”, which summarize certain portions of the data sets to address specific stories or audiences, a blog, a pretty active Twitter account, and city profiles. This is Miami.


Besides its obvious goal of letting people grasp the scope of the HIV, AIDSVu can be a useful resource for classes. It showcases almost no graphs, so this may be a great opportunity to imagine other ways to visualize its data besides the existing maps: Comparisons and rankings of states, cities, and ZIP codes, visualizations of relationships between variables, etc. AIDSVu promises to showcase your work, if you decide to share with them.

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