Using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data for Ghana and Uganda, this study examines the gender differentials in perceptions of HIV risk in the two countries, which have been hit by the HIV epidemic in a different way, as in Ghana the epidemic has just started. It identifies factors associated with high or low risk of HIV infection by using logistic regression methodology. Principal findings include strong gender differentials in perceptions of risk, especially in Uganda; women felt at greater risk of HIV infection than men. In addition, strong power relationships exist as women felt at risk of HIV infection because of their partner’s sexual behaviour, whereas the men’s risk perception was related to their own behaviour. This illustrates the subordinate position of women within sexual relationships as well as the need to empower women to enable them to negotiate safe-sex strategies. Individual, knowledge exposure and sexual exposure factors were highly associated with perception of risk in Uganda whereas individual background characteristics were more influential in Ghana. As the HIV epidemic develops in Ghana, similar associations and gender differentials may become apparent as in Uganda.