Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Monica Swahn

Second Advisor

Rachel Culbreth, MPH


Objective: To examine gender-differences in the prevalence of HIV and alcohol health risk and promotion knowledge among service-seeking youth who live in the slums of Kampala, Uganda.

Methodology: Analyses were based on data from the Kampala Youth Survey (N=457) of service-seeking youth ages 14 to 24 years of age, collected in 2011 in Kampala, Uganda. Exposure to health promotion messages, specifically for HIV prevention, reducing risky sex behaviors and alcohol consumption were included in the survey. The data was analyzed in SPSS v. 21.

Results: The population consisted of 31.2% boys and 68.8% girls aged 14-24. Seventy percent of youth reported being sexually active. Overall, 8% of participants reported being HIV positive. Chi-square analysis revealed that gender differences with respect to HIV prevention messaging and knowledge. For example, girls were more knowledgeable than boys, that a healthy-looking person can have HIV. There were also significant gender differences with respect to alcohol harm and prevention knowledge where girls were more likely than boys to know about “the bad things that can happen when you drink” and also know how to get help to stop drinking.

Conclusions: Our findings show substantial differences between boys and girls with respect to their knowledge about HIV and alcohol prevention and harm. Clearly, additional efforts are needed to increase health promotion messaging overall, but also to specifically target boys and increase their knowledge of alcohol and harm. Gender-specific approaches seems warranted that are also tailored for the experiences of youth living in urban poverty.