Mapping AIDS in America

The CDC recently released a series of dot-density maps illustrating the distribution of AIDS in the United States up through 2005.  Basically, for every 50 or more people with AIDS in a given county, the county got a dot on the map.*  This is a very interesting and easy-to-grasp way of looking at the epidemic in the US, and really gives a sense of the big picture.

You can see and download all twelve dot maps here (fastest download is the Flash format), but I’ll put a few here to give a broad picture of what the maps show. 

Estimated AIDS cases through 1985. (Note the clusters developing around urban areas, especially in New York and California.)
Slide 2: Estimated AIDS cases through 1985. (Note the clusters developing around urban areas, especially in New York and California.)
 

Estimated AIDS cases through 1989 (Note the rapid increase in numbers and the development of more large clusters of cases.)
Slide 4: Estimated AIDS cases through 1989. (Note the rapid increase in numbers and the development of more large clusters of cases.)
Estimated AIDS cases in 1993. (Notice that the dots are really spreading out now, especially in the eastern US.)
Slide 6: Estimated AIDS cases in 1993. (Notice that the dots are really spreading out now, especially in the eastern US.)
Estimated AIDS cases in 1999. (Notice, by the way, the number of cases in Puerto Rico shown in these maps. That's an important point in current dicussions of HIV/AIDS among Latinos in the US.)
Slide 9: Estimated AIDS cases in 1999. (Notice the large number of cases in Puerto Rico in these maps. That’s a big issue right now.)
Estimated AIDS cases in 2005. (Note the many dots peppering rural areas, especially in the southeast.)
Slide 12: Estimated AIDS cases in 2005. (Note the many dots peppering rural areas, especially in the southeast.)

Each slide also gives the total estimated number of AIDS cases through that year (e.g. the 2005 map gives the CDC’s estimate for the number of AIDS cases in the whole US from the discovery of the illness through 2005).  I’ll close with these numbers, which tell a story of their own:

  • 1983: 4,782
  • 1985: 23,109
  • 1987: 71,136
  • 1989: 149,523
  • 1991: 257,674
  • 1993: 413,102
  • 1995: 551,750
  • 1997: 660,102
  • 1999: 741,488
  • 2001: 820,513
  • 2003: 899,238
  • 2005: 975,350

More slides illustrating the statistics of AIDS in the US are available from the CDC.

For more information on HIV/AIDS (and/or a host of other health issues) by state, check out StateHealthFacts.org, one of the Kaiser Network’s many brilliant health information resources.

 

* Here’s the full explanation of the mapping procedure from the CDC website:

In this series of county-based dot-density maps, the data used are estimated AIDS cases by county, for the 50 US states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, cumulative through 2005. The mapped data excludes cases where the county of residence at AIDS diagnosis is unknown (but these cases are accounted for in the title of each map where the cumulative number is provided). The dot size and value remain constant through time; each dot represents 50 cases of AIDS by county. In other words, if by 2005 a particular county hasn’t reported more than 49 cumulative cases of AIDS, then that county would not have a dot associated with it — it doesn’t mean that county doesn’t have any cases of AIDS, only that it doesn’t have 50 or more. Additionally, if a county has between 50 and 99 cases of AIDS, it receives 1 dot. In several areas the dots begin to coalesce as time passes. Assigning one dot to every 100 cases was considered, but left many areas of the US erroneously under-represented. Finally, the dots are randomly placed inside the counties.

Data source: HIV Incidence and Case Surveillance Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data have been adjusted for reporting delays. Data are presented for AIDS cases reported to CDC through June 2007. All data are provisional.

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~ by h.e.g. on September 5, 2008.

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