Date of Award

May 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Peninnah M Kako

Committee Members

Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu, Seok Gwon, Jake Luo, Dinah Chelagat


Adolescents and Young Adults (AYAs), Cell phones, Emerging male adults, HIV, mHealth, Sub-Saharan Africa


Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency disease syndrome (AIDS) among young people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is a serious public health issue which needs urgent cost-effective interventions locally, regionally, and internationally. HIV and AIDS is currently the leading cause of death among young people in SSA, calling for strategic HIV prevention approaches applicable to emerging adults. While most studies have focused on young women, studies focusing on emerging male adults are lacking. The purpose of this dissertation study was to develop an in-depth understanding of the needs, barriers, and facilitators of using mobile phone to access HIV prevention and testing information by emerging male adults in rural Kenya.A qualitative descriptive study design was used. Sixty emerging male adults in rural Kenyan setting participated in the study. Thirty in-depth interviews and three Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded using the software MAXQDA. Attention was focused on the readability, credibility, dependability, confirmability, transferability, and thus, trustworthiness of the findings. The findings derived from interviews centered around two major themes major theme: (i) Needs of emerging male adults in HIV prevention; and (ii) facilitators and barriers to the use of mobile phones in HIV and other disease prevention by emerging adults in rural settings. The results outlined emerging male adults in the rural setting are faced with myriad of risk factors and challenges in accessing and utilizing HIV information and prevention services. Findings also showed that most of the emerging adults in rural settings own a smartphone and this mobile technology can be tapped as a cost-effective intervention in creating awareness in HIV prevention and testing among the young people. The study underscore that HIV is still the greatest threat among emerging adults in SSA and mobile health and they were receptive and acknowledge several benefits of use of mHealth technology for creating awareness about HIV prevention and testing, but they also described many barriers. The findings and recommendations of the dissertation study have a great potential to inform the public health policy and healthcare informatics on cost-effective use of mobile phones in HIV prevention not only to this age group but also to other age groups faced with similar challenges as we work to reach and sustain an AIDS-free generation.

Included in

Nursing Commons