The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a new interactive web tool -- the NCHHSTP Atlas -- that allows users to create maps, charts, and tables using HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease (STD) data collected by CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP).
Currently, the Atlas includes AIDS, HIV, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis data. TB and viral hepatitis surveillance data will be added by mid-year, allowing for more emphasis on mapping, display, and analyses. The Atlas functionality will continue to expand to provide more dynamic query functions as well as county-level data. This new tool and its increasing capability will provide users a broad look at NCHHSTP's focus diseases as well as the groups in the United States most affected by these diseases.
The Atlas is a result of CDC's commitment to continue to improve access to public health data. This increased access will provide public health partners and the public with the opportunity to use data in new and innovative ways. Community leaders, public health professionals, policymakers, and health care providers will be able to better understand trends of these often overlapping diseases. Furthermore, prevention planners will be able to utilize the NCHHSTP Atlas to better determine the most effective, high-impact use of resources and prevention services.
Many public health professionals are likely familiar with other data applications, such as AIDS Vu and CDC-Wonder. The Atlas differs from these tools in a number of ways. For example, while AIDS Vu contains people living with HIV data for 2008, the Atlas contains AIDS, HIV and STD data for multiple years -- from 2000 to 2009, in some cases.
As a result, the Atlas has the ability to show data trends, offers a variety of mapping options, and allows the user to download and export the data and all of the graphics. Furthermore, the Atlas has two-way data stratifications of HIV data and three-way stratifications of STD data.
Finally, the Atlas is built on GIS software, rather than Google Earth. This allows for more emphasis on mapping, display, and analyses. And all of the maps, tables, pie charts, and bar graphs included in the Atlas are interactive.
To learn more about the Atlas, a video tutorial is available at www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/atlas. Please explore the NCHHSTP Atlas and check back for updates. Also, please let us know what you think by sending your questions and feedback to NCHHSTPatlas@cdc.gov. Enjoy exploring this new tool.
Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., F.F.P.H. is the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC, @CDC_DrFenton.