The Impact of Who You Know and Where You Live on Opinions About AIDS and Health Care
Maguire, Bryan T.
Social Science and Medicine. 1991; 32(6): 677-681.
We hypothesized that public attitudes towards AIDS and the safety of health care in the era of HIV would be more positive for people who knew someone with AIDS. We believed, moreover, that living in areas with high AIDS prevalence would result in more favorable attitudes. To test these hypotheses, we conducted telephone interviews with a random sample of 2000 U.S. adults (response rate = 75%) in summer 1988. Overall 19.5% of respondents said that they knew someone with AIDS or the AIDS virus. Thirteen percent of people who lived in low prevalence areas reported knowing someone with AIDS, compared with 27% of those in areas of high prevalence. Of the total sample, 38% reported knowing someone they believed was at risk. People who knew some with AIDS were less likely to say they would change physicians or dentists if their provider was HIV infected or was known to be treating people who were infected. Knowing someone with AIDS was also associated with greater tolerance for those with AIDS to continue to work if they were able and with lower perception of risk of transmission in health care settings. Multivariate regression analyses indicated that personal contact was related to more positive attitudes. Counter to our hypothesis, living in a high prevalence area had no independent effect on attitudes. This surprising finding suggests that, after controlling for personal contact with someone with AIDS, where one lives does not influence attitudes. Because bringing people with AIDS into contact with others may have positive outcomes, we suggest implementation of interventions using this strategy.
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Gerbert, Barbara; Sumser, John; Maguire, Bryan T. (1991)We hypothesized that public attitudes towards AIDS and the safety of health care in the era of HIV would be more positive for people who knew someone with AIDS. We believed, moreover, that living in areas with high ...