Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Okosun



Introduction: More than 1.1 million citizens are infected with HIV and 40,000 new cases are reported annually. Between the years 2004-2007, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a 15% increase of HIV/AIDS incidence rate in 34 states with established HIV reporting. Although the incidence of HIV infection caused by illicit drugs injection and heterosexual activities have decreased, the CDC reported 26% of new HIV cases among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Objectives: The aim of this study is to reveal if the method of recruitment will produce a group of persons who look different from the groups with HIV in most studies. Also to examine the risk factors such as individual’s behavior and characteristics that lead to the increase of HIV incidence despite the existence of different treatments that was claimed to be effective and the increased awareness of HIV infection. The risk factors examined in the study were alcohol intake, drug use, education level, marital status, and the socioeconomic status among people affected with HIV.

Methods: The data was obtained from the National health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the years 1999-2012, and it was retrieved from The Centers of Disease Control and prevention (CDC) website. A descriptive analysis was run on the sought variables to be examined, then cases and controls were matched for age +5 years, gender, and race/ethnic groups. The study is a case control study using a sample of 238 participants (N=238) in the age range of 0-80 years and residing in all 50 states. Demographic characteristics were examined for cases and controls. A conditional logistic regression was conducted to examine the risk factors associated with HIV status. Lastly, a comparison of cases and controls and the original data were conducted.

Results: The results reveal that the method of recruitment of participants did have an impact on the result of the study compared to other studies. It was also found that individuals who drink more than five alcoholic drinks per day increase the odds of being infected with HIV than those who do not.

Conclusion: The method of recruitment used by NHANES produced a group of persons who look different from the groups with HIV in other studies. The results of the study strongly suggests the association between risky behavior taken by individuals, such as alcohol drinking and HIV status. These findings also suggest that public health professionals have to increase the awareness of alcohol consumption among the public to reduce HIV transmission.