Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Ernest Ekong


Weight loss among HIV-infected African American women (AAW), results in the fall of the cluster of differentiation (CD4) cell count and an increase in the viral load. There are 48,126 HIV-infected AAW who reported weight loss within the first year. AAW who report more than 10% weight loss within the first year progress to AIDS due to a deficiency in micronutrients and poor linkage to care. The phenomenon that occurs with individuals living with HIV does not necessarily occur among individuals who have cancer, heart disease, or some other life-threatening illness, and this phenomenon indicates a direct threat to the individual's physical, mental, and social survival beyond the effects of chronic diseases. Using the health belief model in this study helped emphasize the physical change that occurs during weight loss among HIV-infected AAW. The research questions addressed if there was a direct correlation between the use of micronutrients and the decrease in weight, decrease in CD4 cell count, and the increase in viral load. The results of the multilinear regression revealed there was direct correlation between the use of micronutrients and the increase/maintain in weight, an increase in CD4 cell count, and a decrease in the viral load, thus promoting the need for more research and funding. The need to educate HIV-infected AAW on the use of micronutrients was evident. Providing research to providers on changes in standard of care for HIV-infected AAW would allow for an increase in the social, economic, and personal impact on the way an individual approaches care and treatment to prevent the progress to AIDS.