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Soc Sci Med. 1995 Dec;41(11):1535-67.

Health care workers and HIV/AIDS: a critical review of the literature.


This paper reviews the extensive literature which looks at the impact of HIV/AIDS on health care workers (HCWs). The knowledge and attitudes of HCWs toward people with HIV/AIDS and other relevant attitudes, for example those regarding male homosexuality have been widely studied whereas attitudes to intravenous drug use are perhaps under-investigated. Three major themes of the literature are examined. These are fear of infection, beliefs about the right to refuse care and the stresses associated with caring for HIV positive people. A number of educational interventions which attempt to change HCWs attitudes and beliefs are reviewed. Some notable gaps in the literature are identified. Neglected areas include attitudes to women, people of colour and consideration of the organizational and societal factors mediating the impact of HIV upon healthcare workers. Limitations of the research techniques used are identified and future implications for health care workers are considered.

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