Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor's Name

William W. Darrow

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Hugh Gladwin

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

H. Virginia McCoy

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mary Shaw

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Health Communication, HIV, Internet, Mass Media, Minority Groups, Program Evaluation

Date of Defense



Disparities in HIV disease continue to adversely affect Black and Hispanic populations in the United States. Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010 in Broward County, Florida, used strategic communications to alert Black and Hispanic young adults of the serious threat and the choices they could make to prevent HIV infection. This study assessed the channels through which 18-39 year-old African American, Haitian, Afro-Caribbean, and Hispanic residents of 12 high AIDS-incidence ZIP-code areas obtained information about HIV/AIDS and which sources they found most helpful. In addition, this study examined how obtaining HIV/AIDS information was associated with histories of HIV testing and perceptions of risk.

A secondary analysis of computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) data sets was conducted for first-time respondents (N=7,843) in 2001-2003, 2005, and 2007. All ethnicities identified obtaining HIV/AIDS information most frequently from television public service announcements, talk shows, and programs and considered this source “most helpful.” Radio was mentioned second most frequently by Haitian respondents, but African Americans and Caribbean Islanders preferred print media: newspapers and magazines. Use of the Internet increased by 22.4% from 2001 to 2007, but very few respondents regarded the Internet as “most helpful.”

African Americans, Hispanics, and Caribbean Islanders who obtained HIV information from family or friends were more likely to believe that they might become infected with HIV. Caribbean Islanders who obtained information from a church were less likely to believe they were at risk. Among African American, Caribbean, and Hispanic young adults, obtaining information from a doctor or health provider was the best predictor for reporting ever being tested for HIV. African Americans who heard about AIDS on radio stations “HOT 105” and “99 Jamz” were more likely to have been tested for HIV, as were Haitians who saw something about AIDS on a billboard or bus.

Comprehensive HIV-prevention programs should incorporate culturally competent communications components to inform Black and Hispanic young adults of scientific advances in prevention, treatment, and medical care. Further research should examine how diverse ethnic groups in south Florida and elsewhere are accessing and responding to health-related information in the digital age.





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