Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



School of Social Work

First Advisor

Hattie M. Mitchell


This study examines the differences between rural African-American and Caucasian senior citizens with regard to HIV/AIDS knowledge, beliefs, and values. The study is based on the premise that seniors are at a significant risk for HIV/AIDS infection due to a number of factors. A lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS and associated opportunistic illnesses are two factors that may affect the rate of infection among seniors. A data collection process via administration of a 3 5-item instrument was used to test the hypothesis of the researcher. The researcher found that, in many instances, rural seniors reveal gaps in their knowledge base concerning HIV/AIDS. The results of this study indicate that while rural African-American and Caucasian seniors are similar in many of their knowledge, beliefs, and values regarding HIV/AIDS, they demonstrate statistically significant differences in six of the test items. The null hypothesis was rejected due to statistically significant differences between the defined groups.