Of course, sexual health educators should still teach everyone to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. But researchers have created an interactive online “HIV/AIDS Atlas,” which shows how only one-fifth of America’s counties make up 80 percent of the cases. It’s sometimes hard to make public health topics “interesting” and “cool,” but a map does a good job of it! The places where the overwhelming majority of HIV/AIDs cases are located all have demographics that skew gay, black, Asian and Latino (based on data from 2005-07). The virus is most prevalent in counties that include large urban centers like New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, Miami, and Hartford, Connecticut. You can poke around your own county on the National HIV/AIDS Atlas web site and search by county/parish or U.S. Congressional District.
Researchers from the National Minority Quality Forum and Gilead Sciences, a drug company that makes medications to treat HIV, who created the map, say they hope policymakers will use this information to focus resources where they’re most needed. We agree that it’s so much more sensible for policy makers to allocate money for education, free condoms, free testing, free needles exchanges, etc. to the virus’ “hot spots.” But we also wonder if the fact that the map shows HIV is concentrated in mostly gay, mostly of color, mostly urban centers, will also further perpetuate negative stigmas about the disease? [Forbes]