The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University has launched an interactive online map of AIDS in the US at a press conference yesterday at the Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Northwest. AIDSVu provides an exhaustive view of the prevalence of HIV around the country by state and county. For DC and New York, it has data by zip code. The website will provide the latest information about where the need for HIV prevention and treatment is most urgent. Jeffrey S. Crowley, MPH, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy, Patrick Sullivan, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University and Jennifer Kates, MA, MPA, Director, HIV Policy, The Kaiser Family Foundation were in attendance for the debut.
Gilead Sciences, a lead partner, supported the efforts to create this website with financial support and advisory information. Gregg Alton, Executive Vice President of Corporate and Medical Affairs for Gilead stated in an interview that they were happy to support such a bold initiative. "We support a lot of initiatives that are focused on HIV prevention, treatment and care. We we're excited about it because the project has really accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive information that can help patients, providers and public health officials make better decisions about HIV." The site disaggregates the data by race, poverty level, and sex. "There are a lot of people who would be interested in seeing not just how many African-Americans are infected or how many African-American women are infected but also how many African-American women below the poverty level are infected. It would also be good to use the site to track HIV funding to ensure that HIV funding goes to where it is needed most and not just to where people assume HIV is most prevalent."
So what's missing? Data on transgender, MSM versus heterosexual transmission and Intraveneous Drug Users (IDU). Information about how individuals become infected is crucial to prevention and educational efforts because when health care agencies attempt to reach sub populations it is in their best interest to know what they are facing and how to direct their services. Alton said they are working on this. "We would like to have that [information] added. There are a lot of privacy issues. For example, when you get outside of the urban areas the populations are smaller. So if you were to put in information about transsexuals in a rural area, it would be possible for people to find out who they are. So we are working on that. We need to make sure that we do that in a manner that protects the privacy of the individual and in an accurate manner."
Emory University will maintain, update and add a few more features to the site such as additional testing centers. Other diseases are expected to be added to the site as well as more zip code data for other cities. For a better look at the site click on the video clip. For more information about AIDSVu, click here.
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