New Map Shows How Many HIV Cases Are In Your Zip Code

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the Houston ranks 9th in U.S cities when it comes to people living with an HIV diagnosis. There's a new interactive map that breaks down, by zip code, where those infections are. The architects of the map hope it will help both individuals, and HIV service organizations, make better informed decisions on how to deal with the epidemic.

The map is called AIDSVu.  Emory University compiled it using numbers from the CDC, and from state and local health departments.  

Patrick Sullivan is a professor of epidemiology at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.  He says HIV stats are typically released in dry, boring tables that aren’t easily understood.  But, if you put the same data in the form of maps, which people use all the time, then they’re more likely to understand their personal risk. 

“I’ve actually seen people look at the map for the first time and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize this part of the South where I live is so heavily impacted.’  So it might be something as simple as someone deciding to accept when their healthcare provider suggests they be routinely screened for HIV.”

Sullivan says AIDSVu provides a road map for local agencies to concentrate resources where they’re needed most.

“So, for example, someone running an HIV testing program who has a mobile van, or who sends out people to do outreach testing, can look at the map and see, in Houston, down to the zip-code level, those zip codes that are most heavily impacted.”

The 77006 zip code, which includes Montrose, has the highest infection in the Houston metro area. That’s followed by Downtown, Midtown, Kashmere Gardens, and the Greenway/Upper Kirby area.   

The AIDSVu map is coming out on the 19th annual National HIV Testing Day


David Pitman

David Pitman

Host, Morning Edition

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