Interactive data visualization for HIV cohorts: Leveraging data exchange standards to share and reuse research tools

Meridith Blevins, Firas H. Wehbe, Peter F. Rebeiro, Yanink Caro-Vega, Catherine C. McGowan, Bryan E. Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To develop and disseminate tools for interactive visualization of HIV cohort data. Design and Methods: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an interactive video, composed of a long string of pictures, can produce an even richer presentation of HIV population dynamics. We developed an HIV cohort data visualization tool using open-source software (R statistical language). The tool requires that the data structure conform to the HIV Cohort Data Exchange Protocol (HICDEP), and our implementation utilized Caribbean, Central and South America network (CCASAnet) data. Results: This tool currently presents patient-level data in three classes of plots: (1) Longitudinal plots showing changes in measurements viewed alongside event probability curves allowing for simultaneous inspection of outcomes by relevant patient classes. (2) Bubble plots showing changes in indicators over time allowing for observation of group level dynamics. (3) Heat maps of levels of indicators changing over time allowing for observation of spatial-temporal dynamics. Examples of each class of plot are given using CCASAnet data investigating trends in CD4 count and AIDS at antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, CD4 trajectories after ART initiation, and mortality. Conclusions: We invite researchers interested in this data visualization effort to use these tools and to suggest new classes of data visualization. We aim to contribute additional shareable tools in the spirit of open scientific collaboration and hope that these tools further the participation in open data standards like HICDEP by the HIV research community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0151201
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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