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HIV Clinics in Kentucky: Case Study 7.2

Geographic information systems (GIS) store, analyze, and visualize data for geographic positions on Earth’s surface (GISGeography, 2016). Because viewing and analyzing data on maps impacts our understanding of data, we can make better decisions using GIS (GISGeography, 2016). GIS also has layering capabilities that facilitate interactivity (Fleming, p. 187, 2015) and the use of multiple layers within the case study helped to determine the location of an HIV clinic within the state of Kentucky. In case 7.2, various maps highlighting different characteristics were used to find a new clinic in Kentucky. There were four maps – A, B, C, and D –that showed the following, respectively: Kentuckians living with HIV, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with full blown AIDS as of 2012; revealed the locations of existing HIV clinics as well as medical colleges that could provide residents with specialty care; illustrated major roads linking clients to potential and existing clinic sites; and lastly, showed three potential clinic sites based on clients’ residences, existing clinics, and transportation networks (Fleming, p. 188, 2015).

Within the case study, there were three questions that addressed the previously mentioned maps. The questions inquired about the criteria used to find a new clinic; other criteria/data not presented that would help to locate a new clinic; and, based on the maps/sites, which would be the best for locating a new clinic (Fleming, p. 189, 2015). Overall, we agree with the answers given because for the first question, the criteria for finding a new clinic should be based on the AIDs prevalence in the population. The primary goal in the HIV clinic is to take care of HIV infected patients to give them the best care possible. The core functions of public health are assessment, policy and development; so it is necessary for every public health agency to collect, analyze, and make available information HIV infected patients in the community regularly and systematically. This assessment should include the statistics on health needs. Altogether, they can address specific activities to improve the community’s health status in the area. A survey will also need to be conducted to enable this organization to identify areas that are highly infected by the HIV virus. From there, they will make a list of areas or communities who need their services the most. By doing this, they would be able to provide service to less deprived and high rate of HIV populated area, thereby helping the people that actually need it most. For the second question, because contracting AIDS is a risk for HIV positive patients, the prevalence of HIV positive residents in each county would be helpful criteria, in order to stop them from contracting AIDS if at all possible (Fleming, p.190, 2015). Lastly, based on the map data, it was found that site A and site B would both be equally beneficial in finding a new clinic (Fleming, p.190, 2015). Outside of the book answer, we believe that site A will be the best example to use for locating the new clinic. The main reason is that the immediate community has a high percentage of people infected by the virus. Location is a key factor for the selection of this site because there is a high HIV prevalence within that area. Lastly, the location has access to highways, making it easy to commute to an HIV clinic. However, regarding the answer within the book, if sites A and B are both hours away from a facility and they both have high prevalence, there will need to be another factor that will help decide. What could those factors be? Transportation, income, and/or privacy. Some people may not have transportation so a survey may be needed for each area to see which area suffers with these issues. Also, privacy is a factor because most people do not want others to know that they have HIV or AIDS.

                Ultimately, within this case study (7.2), the goal was to find the best location to open a new HIV clinic. In many different communities in Kentucky, there are high numbers of individuals with HIV, but not all are able to get to the clinics because they are too far from them. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a system that uses mapping and other tools to see patterns, but also can “provide more sophisticated analysis functions such as layering various spatial variables and querying for defined parameters” (Fleming, 2015).  A few questions that were asked were, what criteria should be used to locate a new clinic, is there any other criteria or data that weren’t presented from the four maps, and which potential site was the best (Fleming, p.189, 2015). The criteria that should be used would be the number of individuals that are living in different communities with HIV and if they have a clinic close to them. If they do not, then that’s where the potential location should be. Some other factors that need to be looked into would be which areas have individuals that developed AIDS. The best location for the potential clinic, according to the book and also to us, would be between A or B. Map A shows the areas with high HIV levels, but also Map B shows areas that already have existing clinic locations.

References:

GISGeography. (2016, 10 2). What is Geographic Information Systems (GIS)? . Retrieved from GISGeography: https://gisgeography.com/what-gis-geographic-information-systems/

Fleming, S. T. (2015). Managerial Epidemiology: Cases and Concepts (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.

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