1. Race/ethnicity is a predictor of HIV/AIDS prevalence. Research has shown that in the United States, Blacks are far more at risk than any other race/ethnic group. Therefore, the rate of HIV/AIDS is expected to be higher in counties with high percent of Blacks rather than Whites or Hispanic people.
2. Urban areas are characterized by high population densities. High population densities are more at risk for the spreading of HIV/AIDS simply because there are more people in the given county. Therefore, the rate of HIV/AIDS is hypothesized to be higher in counties with higher percent urban populations.
3. Unsafe sex is a predictor. When engaging in unsafe sex, a person is more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as HIV/AIDS and become pregnant. For this study, Chlamydia and teen birth rates are included as predictors of unsafe sexual activity. Areas with high rates of Chlamydia and teen birth rates will also have high rates of HIV/AIDS.
4. Education is crucial to the prevention of HIV/AIDS spread, and awareness about the disease is critical to prevent exposure. Therefore, the rate of HIV/AIDS is higher in areas with a higher percent of people aged 25 years and older who received less than a high school graduate degree (high-school drop outs); it will be lower in areas where a high percentage of people aged 25 years and over have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
5. Socioeconomic status is an indicator of HIV/AIDS rates. Because poverty is a major determinant of whether or not healthcare is accessible and affordable, children living in poverty and the median family income will indicate whether or not there is affordable access to healthcare facilities. Single-parent households face the added burden of lacking the parental supervision that may be provided if another parent were present. Therefore, where there are high rates of HIV/AIDS, there will also be:
a. high percentages of children living in poverty;
b. low median family incomes; and
c. high percentages of single-parent households