Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services 15:3 (2016), pp. 254–268.

doi: 10.1080/15381501.2016.1138178


Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


The sub-Saharan African region has been disproportionately affected by HIV, and Zambia has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates within this region. Moreover, new incidences of HIV infection are increasing most rapidly among those 15–24 years of age. Though young people are at high risk for HIV infection, street youth are even more vulnerable given their exposure to high-risk behaviors. The current study examines multiple levels of social influence on HIV infection among 250 street youth in Zambia. Results reveal that though the majority of youth understand what behaviors increase their risk for HIV, youth still hold many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS. Additionally, youth who do not have a home to return to and those who report parental drug misuse were significantly more likely to be HIV positive. This study underscores the need for further education among street youth regarding HIV knowledge.