Date of Conferral





Health Services


Jeanne Connors


The group most affected by HIV/AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is African Americans. The purpose of this study was to explore the knowledge of HIV/AIDS held by African American children as a first step towards developing prevention strategies for these youths. In order to bridge the knowledge-behavior gap, this study sought to investigate the attitude towards HIV/AIDS of African American 8th grade students. The study involved secondary data from the 2012 District of Columbia (DC) Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, obtained from the District of Columbia Office of Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Guided by the theory of reasoned action and social cognitive theory, descriptive survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequencies, Chi-square, and independent sample t test. Results of the study indicated that the students, especially the male students, were still engaging in behaviors that may expose them to HIV despite exposure to HIV/AIDS preventive programs in school. A Chi-square test indicated that the proportion of students who have had sexual intercourse were similar for students exposed to HIV education and those not exposed to such education, suggesting no association between attending an education program on HIV/AIDS and sexual intercourse. This study supports social change by guiding education administrators and policy makers in the formulation of science-based, age-appropriate, and culturally-relevant HIV prevention policies for DC public schools.