Anti-Permissive Attitudes to Lifestyles Associated With AIDS
Social Science and Medicine. 1993 Apr; 36(7): 893-901.
AIDS is in the tradition of diseases which have [been] given moral interpretations. One way in which this moralistic perspective may express itself is by members of the public holding high risk groups responsible for their (AIDS related) lifestyles and their considering AIDS to be a self-inflicted disease. A unique data source of 7000 verbatim comments recorded in the course of 25,000 structured Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews on Lifestyle and Health which contain a substantial component on AIDS -- knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and sexual behaviour, was used to document negative attitudes to 'AIDS related lifestyles'. These comments revealed that despite evidence of concern about drug use, many respondents consider AIDS to be irrelevant to the majority of the population. There is some evidence that AIDS has contributed to reinforcing negative attitudes towards homosexuality and drug use, especially among older respondents. Extreme punitive attitudes towards high risk groups were expressed by a small minority (predominantly males).
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