The aim of the study was to determine medical student attitudes towards HIV-related issues, to examine if the following student factors can affect attitudes: gender, perception of HIV infectivity, exposure to an HIV+ individual, career intent and attending a clinical attachment.
A self-administered questionnaire was given to students at the beginning and end of a clinical attachment.
Of the 240 questionnaires handed out at the beginning of the attachment, 183 (76%) were completed. Students generally expressed positive attitudes towards people with HIV. Female students and individuals who had considered working in a related specialty or had met an HIV+ person expressed more patient-centred attitudes in some of their responses. Following the course, 72 questionnaires were returned. Responses to several of the attitudinal statements had changed significantly.
Medical students generally have enlightened attitudes towards HIV-related issues, which may be affected by student factors and attending a clinical attachment.