Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Public Health

Document Type



The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the cause of a public health epidemic that has impacted millions of individuals worldwide. Though medical advances have decreased the number of AIDS related deaths by 42% since the peak year of 2004 (UNAIDS, 2015), many individuals with HIV/AIDS are unaware of their status and are not currently receiving antiretroviral treatment. Many experts have suggested that a significant barrier to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment is the social stigma that has become attached to the disease. No single cause of this stigmatization has been identified, but a variety of influences may play a role. To gain a better understanding on the role of culture in this situation, this study measures cross-cultural attitudes about HIV/AIDS using a questionnaire distributed to both international and American students at Western Kentucky University. Results show that international students hold significantly more stigmatizing attitudes about HIV/AIDS than American students. Recommendations are made for methods of reducing stigmatizing attitudes globally.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Anthony Paquin


International Public Health | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion