Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Sherman Dorn


Education, Health, HIV, Transition, Young adult, Youth


This dissertation investigated the role of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) stigma in program implementation. A case study design comprising qualitative methods provided in-depth, context-sensitive comparisons of adult educator (n = 8) and youth (n = 67) perspectives among programs that provide HIV services and those that provide risk reduction services. Nearly half of the youth participants were male, 42% were female, and 6% identified as transgender. Two thirds of participants were Black or African American, one quarter of participants were Hispanic or Latino, and the average participant age was 19. Although program personnel from all youth service programs in this study are acutely aware of how HIV stigma detracts from HIV education, programs that provide HIV services address stigma differently from programs that provide at-risk services. HIV education differs by language, inclusion, and stigma experiences. Based on the research literature and the findings from this study, structural changes are needed to accurately address HIV stigma and improve educational effectiveness across youth programs.