Using GIS to model and forecast HIV/AIDS rates in Africa, 1986-2010

Ezekiel Kalipeni, Leo Zulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article we draw on the power of geographic information systems (GIS) to examine the progression of HIV/AIDS in Africa for the period from 1986 to 2003. We use GIS for two purposes: (1) to transform and interpolate a set of annual point-based HIV/AIDS rates into area data; and (2) to extract or "mine" annual HIV/AIDS prevalence rates from the interpolated area (country) level maps. Once the rates are extracted from the GIS analysis we then model and forecast them into the near future (i.e., 2004-2010) by using the UNAIDS Estimation and Projection Package (EPP) software. The article offers an alternative grounded in geospatial analysis for yielding estimates of HIV/AIDS rates in Africa. Using incomplete sets of data for the period from 1986 to 2003, mean HIV/AIDS rates are generated from spatially interpolated data and future trends are estimated. The results indicate that the HIV/AIDS epidemic for many countries in Africa has reached the saturation or maturity level as evidenced by the typical S-shaped curves in the trends over time. As a matter of fact, some countries have begun to experience a sustained decline in the rates (e.g., Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-53
Number of pages21
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Africa
  • Estimation and projection package (EPP)
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Geospatial data analysis
  • HIV/AIDS rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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