Spotlight Center on HIV Prevention Today


Identifying 'Hotspots' of HIV Transmission With Big Data

May 12, 2016

Credit: WaD, iStock, Thinkstock

Credit: WaD, iStock, Thinkstock

Public health officials in Canada are using big data to track HIV outbreaks in real time and target their outreach to people most at risk. Megan Scudellari, in an article published in IEEE Spectrum, explains the process that the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS uses to collect HIV genetic information from people who have been recently infected, anonymize the data, and analyze the data in aggregate to figure out how (or if) transmissions are linked.

"HIV evolves very quickly, so if [HIV genetic] sequences from different infections are genetically similar, those infections are almost surely related by one or more recent transmission," the Scudellari explained.

The full article can be read in full on IEEE Spectrum.

This excerpt was cross-posted with the permission of Read the full article.

This article was provided by BETA. Visit their website at


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