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It's no secret that AIDS is a major problem on the African continent, but a series of cartograms designed by a University of Michigan Professor provides an effective visual demonstration of this problem by converting topographic areas into statistical proportions. Using the maps created by Professor Green, one can visually compare Africa's share of worldwide population, Gross Domestic Product and HIV/AIDS cases. In looking at these maps, even a person who has never heard of AIDS before should immediately be able to recognize that Africa contains an incredibly disproportionate number of people living with HIV/AIDS. At the same time, the continent possesses only a tiny fraction of the world's GDP. A natural conclusion: Africa needs the world community’s help to stem the tide of the AIDS epidemic.

If you're already reading a blog devoted to global health, I doubt I've told you anything you didn't know. The point, though, is that these cartograms are a quick and easy way to help people understand the scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and the commensurate response that is needed.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.