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This paper investigates, through an analysis of the published literature, the notion held by several people that HIV/AIDS in Africa is unique. Using co-word and multidimensional scaling (MDS) analyses of MEDLINE-extracted HIV/AIDS records, this study used five lists of terms to investigate the related-ness of various factors and diseases to HIV/AIDS. The lists consisted of risk factors, sexually transmitted diseases, tropical diseases, opportunistic diseases, and pre-disposing factors. Data (i.e. words.txt — consisting of keywords/phrases describing the aforementioned factors and diseases; and text.txt — containing HIV/AIDS papers’ titles) were analyzed using TI computer-aided application software, developed by Leydesdorff. Results revealed that several factors and diseases that are pre-dominant in Sub-Saharan Africa exhibited strong and high pattern of co-occurrences with HIV/AIDS, implying close associated-ness with the epidemic in the region. Further areas of research, whose results will be used to make conclusive observations and arguments concerning the uniqueness of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, are recommended.

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Dennis Ocholla
Peter Ingwersen
Ed C.M. Noyons
, and
Wolfgang Glänzel
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