“HIV on the road”: Tracing a geospatial story of HIV transmission in Uganda’s Northern Transportation Corridor

Authors: Diane BenBella*, University of Connecticut, Debarchana Ghosh*, University of Connecticut
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Africa
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, geospatial spread, spatial clustering
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda, the Northern Corridor has been among its epicenters. Fueled by the unconventional lifestyle associated with long distance truck drivers, the districts along the truck routes have driven Uganda’s HIV prevalence rates higher. The term ‘long distance truck drivers’ refers to truck drivers and their assistants, individuals who earn a living transporting goods along major transport corridors within the country and across national boundaries. Due to their sexual networks along the road transport corridors, truck drivers have gained a reputation as a ‘high-risk group’. In this paper, we first identify districts along the Northern Corridor with higher HIV prevalence than the national average. Second, based on the HIV-cascade model, we determine districts with poor treatment outcomes for prevention and treatment interventions. District level health records from Uganda’s AIDS Commission were used to build the HIV-cascade model by calculating percentages of people in each stage: diagnosed with HIV, linked to care, retained in care with ART, and achieved viral suppression. A combination of cartographic (proportional circles; cartograms) and spatial clustering functions were then employed to map the geospatial spread, transmission, and treatment-gaps in the districts along the Northern Corridor. Highlighted results show that linked to care and retained in care have the greatest attrition compared to the other stages with particular hotspots in the central region of the corridor. This may be of interest to policymakers and non-profit organizations that play a major role in HIV treatment and prevention efforts at district levels.

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