Date of Award

Spring 3-15-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Monica Swahn, Ph.D, MPH

Second Advisor

Rachel Culbreth, MPH


Purpose: The majority of HIV-infected individuals live in sub-Saharan Africa and youth account for the largest sub-population with new infections. Because the highest proportion of new infections is among girls, research is needed to understand the risk factors and context by gender. An analysis of peer and parental approval perceptions can elucidate the gender differences in this large, susceptible population in risky behaviors, including histories of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. Methods: Using the cross-sectional Kampala Youth Survey (2014) based in Kampala, Uganda (n=1,134), descriptive statistics were used to explore gender differences in demographics, peer and parental influence variables, and sexual actions. Sexual risk behaviors examined include sexual activity, sexual debut age, self-reported HIV and STI rates, and condom usage. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to determine the odds of sexual risk behaviors based on peer and parental influence variables and gender. This analysis also sought to identify if gender moderated the association between peer and parental influence variables with sexual risk behaviors. Results: There is a statistical difference between genders in a self-reported history of HIV diagnosis (p