Do physicians discuss HIV and AIDS with patients? A survey of physician practices

David M. Haas, Rodney M. Coe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


HIV and AIDS continue to be major concerns to the health care community and the world around them. Preventive efforts and education have been the focus of the fight against AIDS thus far. By the year 2000, 75% of physicians are expected to conduct risk-reduction counseling for patients regularly. Previous studies show that a smaller percentage 'routinely' follow this recommendation. The purpose of our study was to assess with what percentage of patients physicians discuss several HIV/AIDS-related topics, what percentage of their patients are considered at risk for infection, and how comfortable the physicians are with their knowledge level and discussing the subject matter. We sent surveys to the last five graduating classes from St. Louis University School of Medicine and to 169 physician preceptors in the community. The survey asked about patients considered at risk, physician comfort level with HIV/AIDS, the percentage of patients they discuss various HIV/AIDS topics with, and his or her preparedness for these discussions. Total responses were 464 (53.7%) representing all areas of medicine. Most of the physicians (72.9%) consider 0-25% of their patients at risk for HIV/AIDS. Eighty-one percent claim they are moderately or very comfortable discussing the material with patients and more than 90% feel they have at least adequate knowledge. Most of the respondents discuss the HIV/AIDS topics with 0-25% of patients. Recent medical school graduates and primary care physicians are more comfortable with HIV/AIDS and discuss the surveyed topics with a higher percentage of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-416
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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