Date of Conferral





Human Services


George Ayers


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted that the incidence of HIV/AIDS among the American population aged 50 years and over would account for 50% of all HIV/AIDS cases in the United States by 2015. Yet there is little research available about the reason for the high prevalence or the availability of interventions available for this population. The purpose of this study was to explore factors related to HIV/AIDS awareness in a group of older recipients of health care and their health care providers. This study was intended to help fill the information gaps in this area by using a conceptual framework based on systems theory and social network theory. A mixed-method design was used to collect data; semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of 17 health care providers and analyzed using thematic content analysis. Structured exploratory surveys were distributed to a sample of 99 HIV/AIDS-positive adults, aged 50 and over, to understand common factors likely to have contributed to their infection and the results were compared to common factors already identified in the general population in the literature. Results of this study indicate possible communication barriers that exist between care providers and their older clients when discussing topics related to behavioral factors contributing to HIV/AIDS. This study contributes to social change by adding support to the importance of education programs and awareness campaigns about factors related to HIV/AIDS to curtail the spread of this disease among older adults.