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It all started with Liberia. I had just finished reading an article about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president and I was curious to find out a bit more about her country, or, to be more specific, to find out about Liberia’s HIV epidemic.

At that point, I had been editing NAM’s worldwide HIV services directory for about 10 years, so I had developed a strange kind of Pavlovian response to news... I ended up spending about 3 hours on the web, googling, binging, laterally thinking to eventually collect a semi-decent amount of information on Liberia and HIV. This got me thinking: how time-saving and useful it would be if there was ONE place where people could access this type of information? One place where you could find information on any country’s HIV statistics, legislation, drug availability, the latest news and details of organisations fighting HIV on the ground.

NAM already had a huge wealth of this type of information and expertise in gathering and continually updating organisation details, so why not pull it all together in one easy and accessible place?

So, in 2010, the e-atlas was born. A tester version was released in time for the Vienna International AIDS Conference, with some basic functions and we have been working to improve and develop it ever since.

NAM has always been about sharing information and knowledge, about empowering individuals and organisations, so the next step towards creating the e-atlas was an easy one. There are hundreds of HIV organisations out there, developing effective programmes and efficient projects, overcoming challenges with innovative ideas and practical solutions. We wanted to create a resource that helped them share their expertise, publicise their work to colleagues across the globe, create and expand their networks and put their organisation ‘on the map’ (well, e-atlas!).

I won’t pretend the project was seamless, we admit the early version of the e-atlas was a bit clunky, but thanks to your feedback we have removed the ‘flashy’ but confusing map, and created a set of drop-down boxes that mean you can quickly get straight to the organisation or country information  you are looking for.

Today, organisations can add their facebook, twitter, youtube profiles and blogs to their e-atlas profile and we are working on a system that will allow them to upload their own resources, helping to disseminate vital HIV information further.

Put your organisation on the map!

The e-atlas is a work in progress and you can participate by adding your organisation, letting us know of other organisations, or giving us feedback so we can keep improving it.

The world is out there, you just need to click on www.aidsmap.com/e-atlas

Get in touch

If you have any comments or want further information about this resource then email me: e-atlas@nam.org.uk

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