HIV/AIDS emerged in the late 20th century. Believed to have originated in Africa, the disease has spread worldwide. Occurrence of HIV/AIDS and primary means of diffusion vary among regions. Because of the social and economic impacts of this disease, students should have a good understanding of the patterns and processes that define the spread of the disease.


  • To describe the spread and occurence of HIV/AIDS at multiple scales
  • To explain global and regional variations in the occurence of HIV/AIDS
  • To understand the spread of HIV/AIDS in the United States

Content Standards

AP Human Geography*: Unit II—Population Unit
B. Population growth and decline over time and space
3. Patterns of fertility, mortality, and health

Student Activities

Lesson Resources

"The Demographic Impact of AIDS" from the World Population Prospects: The 2002 Revision (pp. 10-14)

PowerPoint: "Global Summary of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic" (UNAIDS) (PPT: 295KB)

[Note: This is a collection of slides highlighting global and regional HIV/AIDS statistics, as of July 2006.]

"AIDS Epidemic Update 2004-Introduction" (5 pages)

How to Create Choropleth Maps (PDF: 35KB)

[Note: The page numbers provided refer to the pages of the publication, not the pdf file.]

Central Concepts: Mortality patterns; population change; diffusion (disease)

Case Locations: Global; United States

This lesson plan is part of a teaching package, Making Population Real: New Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities.

* AP and the Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of these lesson plans.