Date of Award

5-1-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

School of International Affairs and Development

First Advisor

Dr. Art Hansen

Second Advisor

Dr. Kwaku Danso

Third Advisor

Dr. Alawode Oladele

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the knowledge and perceptions of Eastern African refugees regarding HIV/AIDS and its interventions in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. The study was guided by the following research questions 1) What did Eastern African refugees know about HIV/AIDS and its importance? 2) How did Eastern African refugees and their families learn about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment? 3) How did Eastern African refugees perceive HIV/AIDS and those suffering from HIV/AIDS in their families and communities? 4) What were the perceptions of Eastern African refugees regarding participation in the interventions offered by public and private organizations? Study participants were refugees from Somalia and southern Sudan who had settled in metropolitan Atlanta The sample of 80 participants was selected based on age, immigration status, and willingness to share information about sex and sexuality. To collect data, the researcher used a structured survey instrument that was administered in a face-to-face interview format with the 80 participants. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of participant responses were conducted Six themes emerged from the qualitative analysis, namely: Knowledge, Openness, Stigma, Attitude, Willingness, and Trust. Participants indicated basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS and its transmission. They also exhibited openness in discussing HIVIAIDS. However, participant responses manifested strong stigma against HIV/AIDS and its victims. Participants who had lived longer in the United States showed negative attitudes towards HIV/AIDS treatment, the healthcare system, and service providers. There was willingness to contribute towards HIV/AIDS interventions and community services. Participants exhibited mistrust towards health institutions, sources of HIV/AIDS information, and the context of the HIV/AIDS information. Results from the quantitative analysis indicated a strong and positive correlation between knowledge and openness Stigma against HIV/AIDS disease and victims was strongly correlated with knowledge, openness, and attitude. Attitude positively correlated with openness and with knowledge, while trust was moderately correlated to knowledge. The study findings confirm previous research among similar populations that reported limited knowledge of HIV/AIDS, entrenched stigma about the disease and its victims, negative attitudes and mistrust towards health institutions and service providers as well as the potency of the duration factor regarding immigrants resettlement process.

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