Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health




Efforts by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and international nongovernmental agencies to reduce the impact of HIV in Nigeria have not yielded the anticipated results. This study focused on the association between attitude, religious beliefs, knowledge of HIV, sexual risk behavior, and HIV epidemiology in rural and urban Nigeria. This quantitative study used social-cognitive theory and problem theory. The study was based on the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2013 data including a sample of 33,006 participants. Specific covariates including gender, sexual partners over the past years, age at first sexual encounter, socioeconomic status, and literacy level were obtained from the sample. Two hypotheses from each research question were tested to guide the study methodology. Linear regression results suggested that knowledge, attitude, location, and religion predicted sexual risk behavior. Muslims showed the least sexual risk behaviors compared to other religions while more positive attitudes and more knowledge increased sexual risk behaviours. Location had no significant impact on sexual risk behavior. Spearman correlation results depicted a relationship between knowledge and sexual risk behaviors of urban and rural Nigerians separately. More knowledge depicted an increase in sexual risk behaviors. The study results may be useful to Ministry of Health and program planners in constructing culturally based HIV interventions. The significant relationship between knowledge, attitude towards sex, and religious practices may be incorporated with theoretical knowledge on social-cognitive variables to enhance further understanding of the way in which individuals may engage in preventive behaviors to reduce HIV and its effects in Nigeria. Reductions in the spread of HIV/AIDS would lead to a healthy and more productive society.