Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health

First Advisor

Myriam Torres


HIV/AIDS inordinately impacts Hispanics/Latinos, which are the fastest growing minority group in the United States. 16,222 South Carolinians are infected with HIV, with 70 new cases being diagnosed each month. Few studies have been conducted to determine if HIV knowledge is associated with sexual risk behaviors in South Carolina. Bilingual/bicultural interviewers conducted a survey of Latinos living in the Pee Dee and Midlands regions of South Carolina. The survey consisted of questions regarding demographic characteristics, HIV knowledge, and sexual risk behaviors. We enrolled 203 participants in which 193 were eligible for our study (97 females and 96 males). We hypothesized that Hispanics/Latinos with high HIV knowledge would have lower odds of participating in risky sexual behaviors. Results show the most prevalent risky sexual behaviors were inconsistent condom use during oral and vaginal sex, as most of the study population only had one sexual partner in the past 12 months. 87.63% of females and 92.71% of males sometimes or never wore a condom during oral sex which was consistent with condom use during vaginal sex; 91.75% of females sometimes or never wore a condom during vaginal sex and 83.33% of males sometimes or never wore a condom during vaginal sex. The median HIV knowledge score of males and females was 11 out of 18 with 65.8% of the study participants having below average HIV knowledge scores when using a dichotomized variable. Logistic regression found for every correct answer on the HIV knowledge questionnaire, the odds of high sexual risk behavior decreased by 18% when adjusting for age, sex, and years of school completed (OR: 0.820, OR CI: 0.684-0.982). Five HIV knowledge questions were answered incorrectly by more than 50% of males and females with similar misconceptions found in previous studies. Our study demonstrates a need to focus on prevalent HIV misconceptions during development of new HIV/AIDS education programs as HIV knowledge was found to be associated with sexual risk behaviors.

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Epidemiology Commons