The AIDS Epidemic and Physicians : Attitudes Toward Homosexuals and Intravenous Drug Users
Varandani, Lisa Michelle
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The AIDS epidemic has become highly stigmatized among the general public, and likewise among physicians, as they are a part of it, and subject to common prejudices. The stigma derives from the fatal character of the disease coupled with the pre-stigmatizations of the commonly attacked populations. The stigmas associated with homosexuals and intravenous drug users may influence the rendering and quality of care provided to patients infected with HIV. In the battle against AIDS, our strongest weapon is the research, knowledge and treatment contributed by health care professionals. It is for this reason that health care professional's prejudice and stigmatization of populations commonly attacked by AIDS is a serious problem in need of resolution. In the Fall of 1993, the author was a research assistant in the Department of Survey Research at the American Medical Association. The object of this study is to discover whether physicians' age, gender/race, region of country, prevalence of HIV in residence, and number of HIV Continued Education Programs attended in the last three years will influence the degree of stigma placed on populations commonly attacked by AIDS, and if this, in turn, will result in a typical pattern of treatment and referral of patients infected with HIV. Additionally, the study will attempt to determine whether the differences and similarities that exist between the stigmas associated with homosexuals and intravenous drug users will have an effect on their treatment patterns.