Three Medical School's Responses to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and the Effect on Student's Knowledge and Attitudes
Anderson, Donna G.
Academic Medicine. 1997 Feb; 72(2): 144-146.
PURPOSE: To assess the relative importance of factors influentail by the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), such as didactic and clinical training, and the number of HIV-infected individuals known personally, on students' HIV-related knowledge and attitudes. METHOD: A survey was undertaken of the classes of 1991 and 1994 at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and the University of South Dakota School of Medicine. The questionnaire contained 40 knowledge questions, 20 attitude questions, and demographic questions. The students reported estimates of HIV-related didactic hours and clinical encounters experienced during their training, as well as the number of HIV-infected individuals known personally. Data analysis employed two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Pearson correlation coefficients. RESULTS: In 1991 the response rates were 73% from Colorado, 54% from New Mexico, and 50% from South Dakota; in 1994 the rates were 80%, 63%, and 60%, respectively. Training programs were similar between schools and over time, varying only in the amounts of didactic information offered. The 1994 students scored significantly better than did 1991 students on knowledge, overall attitude, fear of infection, and willingness to treat HIV-infected patients; these variables were significantly correlated with the numbers of HIV-infected individuals known personally by the students. Didactic training hours were not significantly correlated with any study variable, and clinical experiences were correlated only with increased knowledge. CONCLUSION: Differences in HIV/AIDS prevalences did not affect the schools' training programs, but indirectly affected the students' knowledge and attitudes, which were related to the numbers of HIV-infected individuals known personally by the students. The authors recommend that medical schools increase students' opportunities for meaningful personal contact with HIV-infected individuals.
Aids; Attitudes; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Comparative Studies; Curriculum; Education; Geographic Factors; Health; Health Personnel; Knowledge; Medical Education; Medical Schools; Medicine; Occupational Exposure; Patient Care; Patients; Prevalence; Refusal to Treat; Schools; Students; Survey;
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