AIDS Data Animation Project: Overview


The still frames and animations illustrated at this web site document disease trends for the years 1981 to 1993 using mortality data from the National Centers for Health Statistics. In their simplest version (US-non aggregate), stills were created for each week in the 13-year period. Stills show the age-, sex-, and race-adjusted AIDS mortality for each county for the one year period around the week of interest (six months forward and back). All non-zero rates from all stills were ordered and the events were divided into 64ths of rank; these were assigned the color spectrum shown on the bottom bar.

Because confidentiality agreements required not reporting rates derived from counts less than three, and because there were many such observations, the US-non aggregate animation may underestimate the progression of AIDS mortality in rural areas. To compensate for this potential bias, two forms of aggregation were used. In the animation labled US small county aggregate, All counties within a state with counts of 0, 1, or 2 AIDS deaths were lumped and their combined rate was calculated and colored. In the animation labled "US State Economic Areas" counties were combined as defined by this standardized classification.

This series of maps and the animation derived from them provide a new perspective on how AIDS mortality has advanced over the previous decade. AIDS mortality can be seen to be increasing in urban epicenters and recent advances in rural Southern counties are also remarkable. While these maps are extremely data-dense representations, they apply the simplest epidemiologic methods to well-characterized mortality data. More importantly, they make real data vividly accessible to non-epidemiologists.

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