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HIV and the primary care physician in Japan.

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  • 1Department of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Kyoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


Primary care physicians in Japan must provide comprehensive medical care and counseling for persons both infected with and at risk for HIV/AIDS. Despite existing activities and education programs, HIV case numbers continue to rise in Japan, and only a limited number of hospitals and physicians offer care to those with HIV/AIDS. Some doctors in Japan refuse to accept patients with HIV/AIDS because of the complex treatment often involved, prejudice regarding AIDS, and fear of transmission. Other impediments to effective treatment of HIV/AIDS in Japan include insufficient risk evaluation through outpatient services, lack of privacy, and restrictions and policies at medical facilities. If Japan's primary care physicians cannot participate in caring for those with HIV/AIDS, it will be impossible for every patient with HIV/AIDS to receive correct and adequate medical care. To enable primary care physicians to provide high-quality service and prevention counseling to those with HIV/AIDS, prejudice, fear, and logistic impediments must be eradicated. Comprehensive practice guidelines that protect patients' rights and privacy should be established immediately. The guidelines should direct primary care physicians toward a logical and proper approach to HIV/AIDS care by addressing fundamental treatment and effective prevention counseling as well as the social problems surrounding HIV/AIDS. In addition, research on the general knowledge level and prevalent attitudes among Japan's primary care physicians regarding HIV/AIDS would clarify which specific issues the guidelines should emphasize.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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