Where Does HIV/AIDS Live?

Maps show geographic distribution of HIV and AIDS in US

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) We know that the spread of HIV/AIDS is not bound by borders. But it has hit some parts of the country harder than others – a startling fact when seen on a map.

The South has become the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in America, with almost half of new cases diagnosed in the region.

Data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show how the virus has spread across the country, putting certain populations at high risk.

"Take preventative measures against HIV."

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with state, county, and city health departments, the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University created an interactive HIV/AIDS map. The project is led by Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Associate Professor of Epidemiology.

AIDSVu illustrates the prevalence of HIV in the United States. It gives a visual reminder of how common HIV/AIDS is across the country.

It also provides information about how social factors – such as poverty, health insurance status, and education affect prevalence.

“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,” Dr. James Curran, Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, said in a press release.

HIV and AIDS are generally concentrated in urban areas, making regions with large cities more likely to have more HIV/AIDS cases and higher rates of diagnosis.

The map is a patchwork of red, orange, and yellow hues. Reds signify the highest rates of HIV diagnosis.

A red stripe spans the southern coast down to Florida. Southern California and the Northeast are also dark reds.

African Americans account for the largest proportion of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the South, Northeast and Midwest, according to the CDC.

Latinos are the second most affected racial group.

These maps are not only a powerful visualization of the virus' impact on America, but they also help the government understand how to spend resources and where they're most needed.

The CDC focuses on funding state and city health departments in the areas that are most heavily affected by HIV/AIDS. But they also maintain a basic level of outreach in all parts of the country, to ensure that all Americans know how to protect themselves, where to get tested, and understand how they can get treated.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 8, 2012
Last Updated:
June 7, 2013