This Interactive Map Shows Where People With HIV Live In The US — And It Points To Some Distressing Trends

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Lydia Ramsey

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It's been 35 years since HIV/AIDS first made an appearance in the US, and it quickly spiraled into an epidemic. 

Now medical advances have made HIV, especially if diagnosed early, a disease that can be controlled with medication.


An estimated 1.2 million Americans live with HIV in the US, and thousands still die from AIDS every year.

AIDSVu, a project run by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in partnership with biotech company Gilead Sciences, has been mapping out HIV by county since 2010 to get a better sense of the epidemic.

On Thursday, it released its newest data, which looks across 2013, as well as new diagnoses from 2008 to 2014. Here's what they found.

This map looks at the number of new HIV diagnoses, with darker purple denoting more diagnoses in that county. In 2014, 44,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV.


The data comes from state and city health departments that collect this information on a local level, Dr. Patrick Sullivan, the project's lead researcher, told Business Insider. That way, it can be pulled into one, interactive map. "We use maps to find where a Starbucks is, or where to find a pharmacy, so people are really familiar with that interface," he said.

It's used by all kinds of public-health organizations looking to make their programs more focused on the most in-need areas, Sullivan said. He cited one example of a group that looked at the AIDSVu data when setting up telemedicine centers in Alabama so that they gave the most benefit to those living in rural areas. Next is a map showing HIV prevalence in Birmingham, Alabama.


Sullivan said he's noticed that the southern states are being disproportionately affected by HIV. In this map, the darkest red shows more than 411 diagnoses per 100,000 people.


Another group disproportionately dealing with HIV is people aged 13 to 24. By mapping it out, Sullivan said, the hope is to help people understand where prevention efforts need to be focused.

Along with the newer, updated data, AIDSVu is also rolling out six new city-specific maps, including this one of Las Vegas. The others are Hartford, Baltimore, Raleigh, Nashville, and Austin. The combined 40 maps make up about 60% of the people in the US living with HIV. "Clearly, cities are a big part of the epidemiology of HIV," Sullivan said.

Through the website, users can look at specific ZIP codes in the 40 cities to see how prevalent it is in a neighborhood. For example, Business Insider's ZIP code reported 5,631 of every 100,000 people were living with HIV.

Click around the AIDSVu website to see more. 


All images in text: AIDSVu