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Patients' Fear of Contracting the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome From Physicians

Patricia A. Marshall, PhD; J. Paul O'Keefe, MD; Susan Gross Fisher, MS; Anthony J. Caruso, MPH; Joan Surdukowski
Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(7):1501-1506. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390190137022.
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• This study investigates patients' concern about the human immunodeficiency virus transmission from their physician during the course of routine medical care. We examined patients' fear of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), knowledge of human immunodeficiency virus transmission, level of comfort with medical procedures performed by a physician suspected of having AIDS, perceived risk of AIDS transmission in physicianpatient interactions, and the desire to be informed of the human immunodeficiency virus status of physicians. Three hundred fifty patients attending a university-based outpatient center in a large midwestern city were surveyed. Findings show that, as fear of AIDS increases, so does reported level of discomfort with procedures conducted by a physician suspected of having AIDS. Fear of AIDS was inversely correlated with knowledge. Patient concerns regarding susceptibility to the human immunodeficiency virus infection in routine care call attention to the need for education about transmission of AIDS in the health care context.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:1501-1506)


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