Zip code by zip code across metro Atlanta, a new interactive map helps visualize the HIV epidemic and shows that Downtown and Midtown have some of the highest numbers of HIV-positive people across the region.

AIDSVu also includes breakdowns based on age, race and sex, and offers HIV testing sites, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The following ZIP codes fall into the highest category, meaning that were more than 1,951 HIV-positive people per 100,000 at the end of 2010: downtown Atlanta (30303), Poncey Highlands (30308), Midtown/Buckhead (30309), West of Atlanta (30310), downtown Atlanta/south of I-20 (30312), Westside, including Centennial Park area (30313), South of 1-20 (30315), East Atlanta (30316), Northwest Atlanta 30318 and Northeast Atlanta (30324).

Some 63.4 percent of HIV cases in metro Atlanta are men who have sex with men, according to AIDSVu.

Atlanta is among 33 cities across the U.S. in which HIV can be drilled down to the zip code level thanks to the research geeks at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. They are the same folks that want to know if you booze and bottom and spend millions researching an AIDS vaccine.

The maps, which cull data from local health departments and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, can help raise awareness and target prevention efforts, according to Patrick Sullivan, AIDSVu's principal researcher.

AIDSVu is also a great way for health care providers and the general public to better understand how HIV impacts their communities. AIDSVu shows that nearly every area in the U.S. is affected, which underscores the importance of HIV testing. If you live in a darkly shaded area, there’s no need to be anxious – remember that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact. However, by knowing their HIV status as part of their overall health and well-being, everyone can protect themselves – even in heavily impacted parts of the country. Similarly, people who live in lightly shaded areas need to know that HIV has no geographic boundaries, so living in an area with a lower prevalence rate does not mean you are protected from HIV. If users don’t know where to get tested for HIV, the AIDSVu site offers testing and care services locators for people interested in taking action.

AIDSVu will soon release a new mapping tool that tracks HIV rates by neighborhood.