AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1083–1094 | Cite as

Factors Associated with Parent–Child Communication About HIV/AIDS in the United States and Kenya: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

  • Melissa N. Poulsen
  • Kim S. Miller
  • Carol Lin
  • Amy Fasula
  • Hilde Vandenhoudt
  • Sarah C. Wyckoff
  • Juliet Ochura
  • Christopher O. Obong’o
  • Rex Forehand
Original Paper


This study explored parent–child communication about HIV/AIDS among two populations disproportionately affected by HIV. Similar computer-assisted surveys were completed by parents of pre-teens, including 1,115 African American parents of 9–12-year-old children in southeastern US and 403 parents of 10–12-year-old children in Nyanza Province, Kenya. Multivariate analyses identified factors associated with parental report of ever talking to their child about HIV/AIDS. Twenty-nine percent of US parents and 40% in Kenya had never talked to their pre-teen about HIV/AIDS. In both countries, communication was more likely if parents perceived their child to be ready to learn about sex topics, had gotten information to educate their child about sex, and had greater sexual communication responsiveness (skill, comfort, and confidence communicating about sexuality). Programs are needed that help parents assess children’s readiness to learn about sexual issues; access accurate information about adolescent sexual risks; and acquire the responsiveness needed to discuss sexual issues, including HIV/AIDS.


Pre-teens Sexual risk communication Parent–child communication Sexual risk prevention Kenya 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa N. Poulsen
    • 1
  • Kim S. Miller
    • 2
  • Carol Lin
    • 2
  • Amy Fasula
    • 2
  • Hilde Vandenhoudt
    • 3
  • Sarah C. Wyckoff
    • 2
  • Juliet Ochura
    • 4
  • Christopher O. Obong’o
    • 4
  • Rex Forehand
    • 5
  1. 1.Global AIDS Program, NCHHSTPCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, NCHHSTPCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Tropical MedicineAntwerpBelgium
  4. 4.Kenya Medical Research InstituteKisumuKenya
  5. 5.University of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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