Estimation of place-based vulnerability scores for HIV viral non-suppression: an application leveraging data from a cohort of people with histories of using drugs

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The relationships between place (e.g., neighborhood) and HIV are commonly investigated. As measurements of place are multivariate, most studies apply some dimension reduction, resulting in one variable (or a small number of variables), which is then used to characterize place. Typical dimension reduction methods seek to capture the most variance of the raw items, resulting in a type of summary variable we call “disadvantage score”. We propose to add a different type of summary variable, the “vulnerability score,” to the toolbox of the researchers doing place and HIV research. The vulnerability score measures how place, as known through the raw measurements, is predictive of an outcome. It captures variation in place characteristics that matters most for the particular outcome. We demonstrate the estimation and utility of place-based vulnerability scores for HIV viral non-suppression, using data with complicated clustering from a cohort of people with histories of injecting drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalBMC medical research methodology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Dimension reduction
  • HIV
  • Place
  • Place and health
  • Place characterization
  • Vulnerability score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Epidemiology

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