Understanding the AIDS Epidemic

Chris Higgins

In a TED Talk released this week, medical statistician Hans Rosling presents a new way to visualize the global AIDS epidemic. By displaying dollars spent per person, graphed as a function of the percentage of the population infected with HIV (by continent), we can see both how AIDS has spread, and how the money spent per patient has affected that spread. Starting in 1983, Rosling's visualization is an animated graph that dramatically demonstrates how the epidemic works, and even allows interaction -- teasing apart specific interactions in particular countries, so we can understand how different interventions have worked. Rosling is a very compelling speaker with interesting, well-presented data.

Discussed: how AIDS has spread over the past 25 years, death rates in poor countries, understanding Africa as many very different countries, infection rates by income (with surprising results), infection on a world map, and serial monogamy in Sweden (powered by vodka).

For more on Rosling and his data visualization, check out Gapminder.org.