Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun MS, MPH, PhD, FRSPH

Second Advisor

Sharyl Strasser, PhD



Haiti has the highest prevalence of HIV infection in Latina America and the Caribbean. The country faces the worst AIDS epidemic outside Africa and bears the greatest burden of HIV in the western hemisphere. Studies in the past recent years show that HIV/AIDS is most likely to be seen in developed countries. People with low education level and appropriate knowledge about STD’s are more susceptible to get HIV. Lifestyle behaviors represent significant factors in HIV transmission. Understandings these lifestyle factors are therefore critical in reversing the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this investigation is to determine the influence of factors such as demographic, lifestyle, HIV knowledge and misconceptions on HIV transmission.

Statistical analysis

For this study, we use SPSS (PAWS Statistics 18). The prevalence of HIV/AIDS via HIV status is determined across socio-demographic variables, respondents’ knowledge and misconception regarding HIV/AIDS, STDs awareness and lifestyle. The distribution of categorical variables across levels of the dependent variable is analyzed using chi-square tests.  All analysis is stratified across HIV status. The distribution of categorical variables by levels of HIV/AIDS status is determined using one-way analysis of variance.  Chi-square analysis between the dependant variable and the independents variables are performed in order to evaluate the association between them. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis are used to determine odds ratio. Logistic regression analyses the association between selected life style factors and HIV/AIDS. Odds ratio from the logistic regression analyses is estimated by the risks of HIV/AIDS that are associated with life style factors. In all analysis, P< .05 is used to determine statistical significance among variables.  Analysis with p< .01 is said to be highly significant. Step wise analysis was made for all significant variables from multivariate analysis in order to evaluate the most significant variables that influence HIV status.


Among demographic variables, only age was reported having negative significant contribution in HIV status. The other variables as residence, education, marital status, economic status and gender don’t influence the transmission of the disease. Significant association was observed for HIV status and respondents “who have ever been tested for HIV”. Odd ration analysis for  people who think “avoiding prostitutes” as a way to avoid HIV, shows significant P value with HIV status (7%) compared to those who do not; Variables referring to respondents who think “having only one sex partner” and “Limited number of partners” as a way to protect themselves from getting HIV are negatively associated with the disease. Those who think someone can get HIV/AIDS by witchcraft present positive significant association with HIV status. Step wise analysis for our significant variables from multivariate logistic regression shows that young respondents and people who think they can get AIDS by witchcraft are the most significant variables for HIV status.


Our results show that young Haitians are at risk for contracting HIV. Recent epidemiologic data confirm the infection is mostly concentrated among youth. Young Haitians lack of sexual education, awareness and misconceptions can explain our findings.  Regarding HIV knowledge, it is important to mention that many ways that the respondents think they can be protected against AIDS are not always an adopted behavior in their current life. Also, Haitians especially youth have a lack of appropriate sexual education. Poor socio-economic situation contributes to the high prevalence of the diseases. Multiple partners, lack of access to health care and health education are factors that impact the transmission. For some Haitians, safe intercourse behavior is influenced by the fact of knowing their HIV status.