Attitudes of Medical Students Toward the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
West Indian Medical Journal. 1995 Mar; 44(1): 7-10.
Several studies have reported negative attitudes toward AIDS patients, homosexuals and drug abusers among physicians, nurses, and health workers in training. To examine attitudes towards AIDS of a group who in the near future would be practising physicians in the Caribbean, medical students at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies were surveyed regarding their attitudes toward AIDS. This paper analyses responses to 21 Attitude Items with reference to five primary areas related to AIDS: Testing for HIV, Homosexuality, Fear of Contagion, Comfort in Interacting with AIDS Patients, and Intention to care for Persons with AIDS. The analysis indicates that these students were all not comfortable with issues related to homosexuality, and there was wide variation and some inconsistency in opinions regarding controversial and contentious issues. Most of these students, regardless of their choice of specialty after graduating, will eventually come into contact with an HIV-positive individual or an AIDS patient. There is a distinct possibility that biases and misperceptions held during the period of training are at risk of being carried over into clinical practice, resulting in unwillingness, or even refusal, to treat certain types of patients. What has also become evident is that emphasis should be placed on ethical and attitudinal training within the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Our future doctors have to be trained to effectively manage the many psycho-social, ethical, and legal problems that will be generated by the AIDS epidemic. What is urgently needed, therefore, is relevant curriculum design and development in the area of AIDS Education directed at the region's future physicians.
Aids; Aids Serodiagnosis; Attitudes; Communication; Curriculum; Consent; Doctors; Education; Faculty; Health; Health Personnel; Homosexuals; Hospitals; Informed Consent; Intention; Mass Screening; Medical Education; Medical Students; Nurses; Occupational Exposure; Patient Care; Patients; Physicians; Risk; Schools; Stigmatization; Students; Survey;
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