Increasing rates of HIV infection have been found in migrant farmworkers in the USA over the past decade. By virtue of lifestyle, language and culture, these workers are not exposed to the typical media HIV prevention messages. To determine their level of knowledge about this disease for use in prevention messages targeted specifically to this population, five gender specific focus groups were conducted among Haitian, Jamaican and African-American migrant farmworkers in upstate New York. The focus groups revealed that the health belief system of these Afro-American migrant workers primarily reflects that of their indigenous culture. This impacts their interpretation and utilization of risk aversive behaviours. The data also suggest that the culture of migrancy itself affects the extent of risky behaviours practised, but further studies are needed to examine this phenomenon.