A Data Visualization and Dissemination Resource to Support HIV Prevention and Care at the Local Level: Analysis and Uses of the AIDSVu Public Data Resource
Background: AIDSVu is a public resource for visualizing HIV surveillance data and other population-based information relevant to HIV prevention, care, policy, and impact assessment.
Objective: The site, AIDSVu.org, aims to make data about the US HIV epidemic widely available, easily accessible, and locally relevant to inform public health decision making.
Methods: AIDSVu develops visualizations, maps, and downloadable datasets using results from HIV surveillance systems, other population-based sources of information (eg, US Census and national probability surveys), and other data developed specifically for display and dissemination through the website (eg, pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP] prescriptions). Other types of content are developed to translate surveillance data into summarized content for diverse audiences using infographic panels, interactive maps, local and state fact sheets, and narrative blog posts.
Results: Over 10 years, AIDSVu.org has used an expanded number of data sources and has progressively provided HIV surveillance and related data at finer geographic levels, with current data resources providing HIV prevalence data down to the census tract level in many of the largest US cities. Data are available at the county level in 48 US states and at the ZIP Code level in more than 50 US cities. In 2019, over 500,000 unique users consumed AIDSVu data and resources, and HIV-related data and insights were disseminated through nearly 4,000,000 social media posts. Since AIDSVu's inception, at least 249 peer-reviewed publications have used AIDSVu data for analyses or referenced AIDSVu resources. Data uses have included targeting of HIV testing programs, identifying areas with inequitable PrEP uptake, including maps and data in academic and community grant applications, and strategically selecting locations for new HIV treatment and care facilities to serve high-need areas.
Conclusions: Surveillance data should be actively used to guide and evaluate public health programs; AIDSVu translates high-quality, population-based data about the US HIV epidemic and makes that information available in formats that are not consistently available in surveillance reports. Bringing public health surveillance data to an online resource is a democratization of data, and presenting information about the HIV epidemic in more visual formats allows diverse stakeholders to engage with, understand, and use these important public health data to inform public health decision making.