1. Why was AIDSVu developed?
AIDSVu was developed with the goal of making HIV data widely available, easily accessible, and locally relevant. AIDSVu’s state-, county-, and ZIP-code level data can help inform public health planning and decisions about the best use of HIV prevention, testing, and treatment resources. These data also underscore the importance of all individuals aged 13 to 64 being tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and, if the test is positive, being linked to and retained in care.
2. Who is AIDSVu intended for?
AIDSVu can be used by everyone. The site is intended to be a resource for public health officials, health care providers, researchers, policymakers, advocates, and the general public. The detailed, yet easily accessible, information on AIDSVu can help communities plan where HIV prevention, testing and treatment services are needed most; provide important data and visuals for grants, policy reports, and advocacy efforts; and give health care providers and the general public a tool for better understanding how HIV impacts their communities.
3. Who created AIDSVu?
AIDSVu was developed by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc. It is led by Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University.
4. Who helps to advise the AIDSVu project?
AIDSVu receives ongoing support and guidance from three groups consisting of key stakeholders and experts: the AIDSVu Advisory Committee, the AIDSVu Technical Advisory Group, and the AIDSVu Prevention and Treatment Advisory Committee. The individuals who participate in these groups are representatives of organizations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, national patient and community advocates, representatives from state and local health departments, and private industry.
5. Who provided the data for AIDSVu?
State- and county-level AIDSVu data are obtained from CDC’s national HIV surveillance programs and mortality data are obtained from CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP). Data are released to AIDSVu in accordance with each state’s HIV/AIDS data re-release agreement and are compiled by researchers at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Neighborhood, ZIP code and census tract data are obtained directly from state and local health departments. All data received by Emory are anonymous, meaning that no names or other personally identifying information are provided. Strict rules are applied to the mapping process to protect the privacy of those living with HIV.
6. What does AIDSVu’s interactive map show?
AIDSVu visualizes HIV prevalence data – the rates and numbers of persons living with an HIV diagnosis – across the U.S. in 2014, and in 2015 for cities. The maps also show new HIV diagnoses data – the rates and cases of new HIV diagnoses – across the United States from 2008 to 2015, and HIV mortality data – the rates and numbers of persons with HIV who died – across the U.S. in 2014. Prevalence, new HIV diagnosis, and mortality data are available at the state-level and prevalence and new HIV diagnosis data are available at the state- and county-level and at the ZIP code-level for all 41 U.S. cities. Additionally, prevalence and new HIV diagnoses data are available at finer geographic levels, including community- and census tract- levels for Chicago, census tract-level for Philadelphia, and ward- and census tract-levels for Washington, D.C.
AIDSVu data can be visualized by race/ethnicity, sex, age, and transmission category, and displays HIV prevalence data alongside various social determinants of health – such as poverty, high school education, median household income, income inequality, and people without health insurance. AIDSVu allows users to locate a place for HIV prevention, testing and care, and also includes NIH-funded HIV prevention, vaccine, and treatment trial locations.
AIDSVu also has local statistics pages with profiles for 33 U.S. cities, 49 states, D.C., and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico), offering easy-to-understand, printable snapshots that summarize the impact of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
7. What does AIDSVu demonstrate about HIV/AIDS in America?
AIDSVu provides a visualization of the HIV epidemic across the United States. The interactive maps illustrate geographic variations in the HIV epidemic, and reveal how the epidemic affects communities differently. This information is important for individuals to understand how HIV impacts their communities, and for health officials and policymakers to see where HIV prevention, testing, and care services are needed most.
The AIDSVu maps illustrate how HIV still disproportionately impacts some regions and groups. This year’s major data highlights include:
- Where You Live Matters When It Comes to Being at Risk for HIV Infection: Two-thirds of all new HIV diagnoses in 2015 occurred in just 2.5 percent of U.S. counties.
- The Opioid Epidemic is Impacting New HIV Infection: Newly updated county-level data on AIDSVu reflects the rise in HIV diagnoses in Scott County, Indiana, where an HIV outbreak related to opioid and injection drug abuse resulted in over 150 individuals becoming infected with HIV from 2014 to 2015. AIDSVu maps visualize this impact in a county that had historically diagnosed approximately three new HIV cases annually.
- Southern States Experience the Greatest Burden of Infection and Deaths: The Southern U.S. is home to nearly 37 percent of the country’s population, but these states account for more than half of all new HIV diagnoses (52 percent) and deaths (49 percent) among persons diagnosed with HIV.
- The five U.S. cities with the highest rates of new diagnoses (Miami, FL; Jackson, MS; New Orleans, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; and Atlanta, GA) are all located in the South.
- Racial Disparities in HIV Infection Continue with African Americans Most Impacted: While making up just 12 percent of the U.S. population, black or African American persons accounted for 45 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in 2015.
- HIV Diagnoses Among Youth Continue to Rise: While the number of new HIV diagnoses among all persons in the U.S. decreased by 18 percent between 2008 and 2015, new diagnoses among youth (aged 13 to 24) increased by 2 percent.
- In 2015, young persons between ages 13 and 24 accounted for more than one quarter of all new HIV diagnoses.
8. How can I get AIDSVu maps and resources for my work?
AIDSVu has a map print functionality allowing users to download and print custom views from the interactive map for use in grant proposals, presentations, manuscripts and other materials. Additionally, the local statistics section allows users to download and print state- and city-specific data and fact sheets using a custom export function at the top right-hand side of the page.
9. Why are the data not from this year?
Each year, AIDSVu publishes the latest HIV data available from the CDC and 41 city departments of health. The state-, county-, and city-level new diagnoses data have about a one-year compilation period to allow for reporting time, data corrections, resolution of duplicate diagnoses across states, analyses, and report preparation. New diagnoses data offer a look at recent changes in the epidemic.
The state-, county and city-level prevalence data have about an 18-month compilation period for the same reasons, as well as the integration of the data on deaths of people with an HIV diagnosis (mortality). Prevalence data help us to understand the overall burden of HIV in the U.S.
City-level data is available more quickly than the state- and county-level data due to the different data sources and their independent timelines.
10. Why does the map differ between the rate and number of cases?
The scales in the legends for HIV prevalence and new diagnoses rates and number of cases for individual states, counties, ZIP codes and census tracts differ because the rate (usually expressed as the number of cases per 100,000 people in the population) is an expression of the relative concentration of people in an area (state, county, ZIP code or census tract) living with an HIV diagnosis. This differs from the number of cases, which is the actual number of people living with an HIV diagnosis. The rate can be useful for comparing the severity of the HIV epidemic in areas with different population sizes – for example, in a densely populated area and in a more sparsely populated one. The number of cases can identify areas where the greatest or fewest number of individuals living with an HIV diagnosis reside.
For example, in a county with fewer people but with a relatively large number of people living with an HIV diagnosis, the county may be shaded a dark red when viewing the prevalence rate. However, the same county may not appear dark red when viewing the map by the total number of cases because the county has a smaller number of cases compared with other counties
11. Why aren’t some data shown?
To protect the privacy of those living with diagnosed HIV, AIDSVu does not display data where the number of people living with diagnosed HIV is less than five and/or the number of people in the area is less than 100 for states/counties and less than 500 for ZIP codes/census tracts.
Areas appear white when one or both conditions are met. The light shade of gray indicates an area where data are not shown because the data are either not available for the area or were not released to AIDSVu.
12. How does AIDSVu differ from maps provided by the CDC?
Both AIDSVu and the CDC maps are built using the same data from CDC surveillance programs. However, AIDSVu also displays ZIP code-level data on HIV prevalence and new diagnoses, which the CDC does not currently publish. CDC maps also offer some content that AIDSVu does not, including data on other infections, such as acute viral hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections.
13. How does AIDSVu differ from other maps produced from some states?
All state- and county-level HIV surveillance data for AIDSVu were obtained from CDC’s national HIV surveillance database housed in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention’s HIV Incidence and Case Surveillance Branch. Data released from the CDC may differ from data released by individual states because the data were analyzed differently, or because they are from different time periods. These differences can produce slightly different numbers that are released at the national vs. state or local levels.
14. What is the source of the neighborhood data?
The neighborhood data on AIDSVu was provided directly by state, county, and city health departments, depending on the entity responsible for HIV surveillance in that jurisdiction. Each health department defined the neighborhood area in their jurisdiction for which they desired to display data on AIDSVu. Maps are shown at the neighborhood-level for San Francisco, community area-level for Chicago, and ward-level for Washington, D.C.
15. What is the source of the census tract data?
The census tract level data on AIDSVu are provided directly by state or city health departments, depending on the entity responsible for HIV surveillance in each jurisdiction. Census tracts are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of a county; they usually have between 2,500 and 8,000 persons and, when first delineated, were designed to be homogeneous to the population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions.
Census tract boundaries are delineated with the intention of being maintained over a long time so that statistical comparisons can be made from census to census. However, physical changes in street patterns caused by highway construction, new development, etc., may require occasional revisions; census tracts occasionally are split due to large population growth, or combined as a result of substantial population decline.
16. How do the numbers on AIDSVu compare to national statistics?
The CDC estimates that 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. These national statistics count both people who have been diagnosed with HIV (i.e., who have had a positive test for HIV) and an estimate of other people who are living with HIV but who have not been diagnosed. The CDC estimates that one in seven people in the United States who are living with HIV don’t know it. The state- and county-level data on AIDSVu only include people who have been diagnosed with HIV. Nationally, CDC estimates that nearly one quarter of all HIV infections are diagnosed late, meaning individuals were diagnosed after the disease had already progressed to AIDS. People with late HIV diagnoses miss opportunities to start treatment earlier, which can lead to better health outcomes.
Each individual city and state profile on AIDSVu provides additional information, such as racial disparity in HIV diagnoses, new and late HIV diagnoses, mode of HIV transmission, federal grant funding for HIV/AIDS, state progress toward prevention goals, and other sexually transmitted disease rates
17. How did AIDSVu select the cities displaying ZIP code, census tract, and neighborhood data?
AIDSVu invited cities with highest rates of HIV diagnoses, according to CDC’s recent HIV surveillance report, to provide data. AIDSVu’s resources and capacity determine the number of new cities invited each year. Unfortunately, at this time, AIDSVu is unable to map all U.S. cities because of the possibility of low case counts or small population sizes.
18. Can you provide a ranked list of counties with the highest HIV rates in the U.S.?
Because the data for several counties are suppressed or not available, AIDSVu is unable to provide a ranking of U.S. counties. To determine counties with the highest rates or case counts, it is possible to sort the county-level downloadable data set from highest to lowest.
19. How does AIDSVu account for prison and jail data and what do the correctional disclaimers on the map mean?
Some counties have state or federal correctional facilities where inmates may have been diagnosed with HIV. Because the data displayed on AIDSVu count these inmates, and because the “persons living with diagnosed HIV” are analyzed by “most recent known address” and “persons newly diagnosed with HIV” data on AIDSVu are analyzed by “residence at HIV diagnosis,” inmates living in or diagnosed at correctional facilities are counted as cases in the county where the facility is located. This may inflate the rate and case count of persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the county and may not represent HIV infection in the county’s community as a whole. In cases where this inflation may occur, a note is included in the pop-up window for the relevant geographic area. see the Data Methods page on AIDSVu.org for additional information about how the inclusion of these correctional notes was determined.
Some AIDSVu cities have excluded case counts where the HIV diagnosis may have occurred in a correctional facility. Correctional disclaimers on AIDSVu’s city maps are on a case-by-case basis. To see cities that display correctional disclaimers, see the Data Methods page.
20. Is AIDSVu based on where people lived at the time of HIV diagnosis or where they live now?
Prevalence data is based on most recent known address and new diagnoses data is based on residence at time of diagnosis.
21.How are transgender cases defined on AIDSVu?
According to the CDC, transgender is defined as people whose gender identity or expression is different from their sex assigned at birth. This year AIDSVu is including data provided by 30 city jurisdictions from the electronic HIV/AIDS Reporting System (eHARS) on individuals who are transgender women (Male-to-Female) and transgender men (Female-to-Male). The data provided are the estimated number of people living with diagnosed HIV and had a reported difference between birth sex and current gender.
22. How often do you intend to update AIDSVu? Are you planning to add new features to AIDSVu?
AIDSVu is updated on an ongoing basis with new data and additional information as it becomes available. For details about how often different data elements will be updated, see the Data Methods page on www.AIDSVu.org. You can also sign up on the AIDSVu website to receive email notifications when new features or data are added to the site.
23. Where does AIDSVu get the statistics and findings released on infographics and awareness day pages?
Unless otherwise noted, AIDSVu receives all statistics and findings from CDC. This information is carefully reviewed and confirmed by the AIDSVu team prior to their release, and in the event of any discrepancies, AIDSVu contacts CDC to confirm the data source and methodology.
24. What is Powered By AIDSVu?
Powered By AIDSVu projects use the existing AIDSVu infrastructure to expand to other projects that visualize complex information to inform public health decision making. Powered By AIDSVu projects incorporate collaborative content and programs from additional data sources and partners. The inaugural Powered By AIDSVu project, HIVContinuum.org, was released in February 2015 and maps engagement across the five stages of the HIV treatment cascade. A new Powered By AIDSVu project, HepVu.org, was released in April 2017 and visualizes the first standardized state-level estimates of people with past or current Hepatitis C infection across the United States.
25. What does HIVContinuum show?
HIVContinuum.org displays data and maps illustrating the HIV care continuum in eight large cities in the U.S. – Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C and two states – Illinois and Texas. The site includes data for persons newly diagnosed with HIV between 2010 and 2014 and visualizes new HIV diagnosis, late HIV diagnosis, linkage to HIV care, engagement in HIV care, and suppressed HIV Virus (engaged and diagnosed). In 2017, this Powered By AIDSVu project will expand to include three new cities and three new states that are highly impacted by HIV.
26. What does HepVu show
HepVu.org displays interactive maps that illustrate Hepatitis C antibody prevalence estimates and mortality data at the state-level. Data can be visualized by rates and cases, and mortality data can be stratified by sex, race, and age. The state-level antibody prevalence estimates on HepVu were derived from an Emory University Coalition for Applied Modeling for Prevention (CAMP) modeling project, “Estimation of State-level Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection, US States and District of Columbia, 2010,” which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in April 2017. State-level Hepatitis C mortality data are obtained from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS).