The United Nations has set a goal of ending the global HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The tide is slowly turning in southeastern Africa — including countries like South Africa, Mozambique, Lethoso, and Botswana — which remains the epicenter of the epidemic, home to more than half of the 36.9 million people living with the disease. The rate of deaths and infections there are declining overall. But a July report from the United Nations AIDS agency found a $5.4 billion shortfall in global funding needed to achieve final victory.
A first-of-its-kind new map may help increase the precision of the HIV/AIDS response, as some data-savvy researchers narrow their focus on the continent's worst-affected areas — to the size of a small town.
A study published Wednesday presents what these researchers describe as the most detailed map ever produced of HIV prevalence across sub-Saharan Africa. The team behind the map is an international consortium of epidemiologists led by the University of Washington-Seattle's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation(IHME). Their work appears in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.
The researchers don't just go country by country. Theybreak down the continent into a grid of thousands of 9.6-square-mile squares. The result is a view of HIV distribution that is much more fine-grain than the usual national or province-level data and that could have a huge impact on how resources are allocated to diagnose and treat as well as to prevent new infections.