USA: AIDS and State Health Budget


By Erlan Mendoza

AIDS has claimed countless lives since the day of its discovery and it shows no signs of slowing down. People from all over the world have fallen victim to the virus and the list continues to grow. Each year, people die because of AIDS, and the reason behind this continuous death toll stems from the fact that AIDS is easy to catch, and yet very difficult to cure.

In the USA, the occurrence of AIDS is quite high, depending on which state is being looked into. Having said so, I came up with the idea to map the relationship between the cases of AIDS and the allocated personal health care per state.

Objective

This map is aimed towards providing a visual representation of a spatial phenomenon. The primary purpose of the map is to show the relationship between the occurrences of AIDS and the corresponding personal health care budget allotted per state.

Data

All data used for the map was accessed through the internet.

1.) A vector file for the USA containing the state boundaries.

2.) Attribute data about the personal health care budget per state.

3.) Attribute data about the occurrences of AIDS per 100,000 people per state.

Method of mapping

After all the necessary data was gathered, all the other processes flowed quite smoothly. The base map, which is a vector file for the USA, was the first file to be added since it served as the backbone of the whole map. However, the vector file did not contain any sort of information about the health budget, so adding fields to the attribute table was necessary. Attributes about the personal health care budget were added together with number of people living with AIDS per 100,000 people, both attributes were delineated by state boundaries.

The map employed the use of two types of symbology; Choropleth and dot proportion. The choropleth symbolized the cases of AIDS per 100,000 people by state, while the dot proportion symbolized the personal health care budget per state.

The choropleth and dot density layers were overlayed and it produced the desired output which showed the budget per state on personal health care together with the people diagnosed with AIDS per state in one map.

Audience

The target audience for this map is the health sector of the USA, no matter how ambitious that may sound. Health workers and non- profit organizations can also benefit from this map if they wish to provide medical relief to the people in areas with high incidences of AIDS. However, the true audience of this map is not limited to a specific group of people, instead this map’s aim is to show people coming from all walks of life a visual representation of the occurrences of AIDS and its relationship with the budget allotted for personal health care per state, the map is easy to understand and everyone who wishes to view it is very much welcome.

A Word from the Map Maker

Due to time constraint and availability of data, the specific allocations of personal health care budget per state were not thoroughly examined. Therefore, the specific portion of the health care budget allotted for the treatment of AIDS per state is unknown.

The results showed that the states with the least budget on personal health care are also the states with the lowest cases of AIDS. This is not to say that the state budget on personal health care has a direct relationship with the occurrences of AIDS, for if that were the case, it would be like saying that the cases of AIDS can be lessened by reducing the state budget on personal health care.

Another way of looking at this map is through a cause and effect relationship. The cause being that a state has a high incidence of AIDS and the effect is that the personal health budget on that specific state was increased. But then again, this is just a possible way of interpreting the map, and this is not necessarily what takes place in real life.

To anyone else who wishes to make a similar study, it is important to have data about the division of health budget per state, this way you can accurately determine just how much of the budget is being allocated for the treatment of AIDS.

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