Master's Project Title:

Comparing Beliefs about AIDS Across American-born Somalis versus Somalia-born Somalis and other Americans

MCH Student:

Yasin Garad

Date of Defense:



Misperceptions about HIV/AIDS by Somali-born and U.S.-born Somali individuals may undermine the effectiveness of existing AIDS education programs, especially the prevention of AIDS both inside and outside of the Somali immigrant community. If we ignore misperceptions, educational programs that serve Somalis will be severely hampered and the HIV/AIDS rate may increase dramatically among Somalis. It is hypothesized that Somali-born individuals are more likely to underestimate the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission than U.S.-born individuals. This thesis is a comprehensive Literature Review of secondary sources and selected informational interviews with Somali-born and U.S.-born professionals.

The intent was to determine: (1) What kinds of misconceptions do Somali immigrants hold about AIDS?   (2) Where did these misconceptions originated?   (3) How are these misconceptions different from U.S.-born people? (4) What needs to be done, in order to achieve applicable and effective AIDS education program that my reduce HIV/AIDS rate among Somali immigrants?

The review revealed that central hypothesis was supported the paper suggests that HIV/AIDS education programs for Somali-born Americans should include Somali cultural beliefs. Meanwhile, U.S. medical institutions need to not only diversify their AIDS education programs, but they need to ensure that people better understand AIDS transmission.