Activity 2: Pattern of HIV/AIDS in the United States

Introduction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that some 900,000 people in the United States are infected with the HIV virus, but the disease is not uniformly distributed throughout the country. Neither does it follow patterns of diffusion found in some other regions.

In this activity, students will need Internet access to use data found in a set of Excel spreadsheeets.


Part One: How Has HIV/AIDS Affected the United States?

Materials Needed

  • Handout 1. "Death Rates for Selected Causes of Death, 1950-2002" (Excel: 127KB)
  • Handout 2. "Death Rates for HIV by Sex, Race, Ethnicity, and Age Group, 1987-2002" (Excel: 99KB)
  • Graphing paper or graphing software (MS Excel)

Instructions

  1. Have students open Handout 1 and have them locate the data for HIV/AIDS. Then answer the following questions:
    • What are the main causes of death in the United States?
    • What changes in cause of death have occurred since 1950?
    • In what year did HIV/AIDS first appear?
    • Construct a graph showing the changing death rate (per 100,000 population) due to HIV/AIDS since 1950.
    • Next, construct graphs showing death rates (per 100,000) by sex, race, and ethnicity due to HIV/AIDS since 1950.
    1. Lead a class discussion of the patterns revealed in the graphs students have constructed.
    2. Have students open Handout 2 and answer the following questions:
      • What age groups are most likely to be infected with the HIV virus?
      • Have there been changes in this pattern over time?
      • Are similar age patterns observed regardless of sex, race, or ethnicity?

      Part Two: Are AIDS Cases Uniformly Distributed Throughout the United States?

      Materials Needed

      • Handout 3. "AIDS Cases (per 100,000) by State, 2001-2002" (Excel: 35KB)
      • Handout 4. "AIDS Cases (per 100,000) by Metropolitan Areas, 2001-2002" (Excel: 37KB)
      • Handout 5. Blank map of the United States (PDF: 184KB)
      • Instructions on how to create a choropleth map (PDF: 35KB)
      • Colored pencils
      • Access to an atlas, almanac or the U.S. Census Bureau website at www.census.gov

      Instructions

      1. Have students open Handout 3 and distribute copies of Handout 5.
        • Using Handout 3, have the class examine the range of rates per 100,000 for AIDS cases by state and decide on ranges for data categories.
        • Divide the class in half and have students construct choropleth maps of the rate per 100,000 of AIDS by state in the United States for 2001 and 2002, using the agreed data categories. (See the instructions above on how to create choropleth maps, if necessary.)
        • Have students describe patterns that the maps reveal.
        • Encourage students to speculate on possible reasons for these patterns.
        • Ask students if there are any changes between 2001 and 2002.
        1. Next, have the students open Handout 4.
          • Using Handout 4, have the students scan the death rates due to AIDS in metropolitan areas, creating categories and sorting the metropolitan areas based on death rates.
          • Have students refer to an atlas, almanac, or the U.S. Census Bureau website to determine the total population of these metropolitan areas.
          • Ask students what patterns can be observed in terms of death rates due to AIDS and the size of the metropolitan area.
          • Encourage students to speculate on reasons for these patterns.