Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Pharmacy Administration

First Advisor

Meagen Rosenthal

Relational Format



Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which subsequently leads to the disease Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is a highly prevalent virus throughout the world, yet it is a commonly misunderstood disease. HIV/AIDS comes with a stigma that can hinder the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. This study evaluated the knowledge and perceptions of the students at the University of Mississippi. A sample of University of Mississippi students was randomly selected and asked through email to participate in a 26-item survey assessing their knowledge, awareness, and empathy towards people with HIV/AIDS through true/false, multiple choice, and Likert scale questions. The 850 student responses were then analyzed. In the knowledge quiz results, a large portion of the students answered most of the questions correctly. Results indicated that the questions that were more evenly distributed between correct and incorrect answers were questions concerning more specific transmission or technical information about HIV/AIDS that is less commonly discussed in classes briefly covering basic HIV/AIDS information. Analysis of the differences in the demographics across the total knowledge, awareness, and empathy scores revealed that the Other or Black or African American ethnic groups had the highest mean scores for all three categories, the most significant difference being that the Black or African American group received a total mean empathy score of 79.26, which was a much better score than any other group. Health professions students appeared to have higher mean knowledge, awareness, and empathy scores when compared to non-health professions students, but the empathy scores had the only statistically significant difference with health professions students getting a total mean empathy score of 70.53% as opposed to the non-healthcare profession total mean score of 69.30%. It was also discovered that there is a correlation between total mean knowledge score and total mean empathy score. Further studies are needed to strengthen the correlation between knowledge and perceptions, but this study does reflect the findings of other studies similar in nature.

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