Most medical residents said they do not want to treat AIDS patients when they go into private practice, a nationwide survey showed Saturday.
A poll of 1,045 medical residents specializing in internal medicine at 41 training programs found 63 percent did not plan to care for people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome, 17 percent strongly favored treating AIDS patients and 20 percent were somewhat in favor.Furthermore, about half of the young doctors said they would not want their communities to know they were caring for AIDS patients.
About two-thirds of the residents questioned in the University of California-San Francisco survey said they worred about being infected with the AIDS virus while on the job.
Three-quarters of the residents said they would not give life-saving treatment to an AIDS-infected person, even if the chance they would get the deadly virus was one in 100. If the risk was one in 100,000, about 5 percent would still withhold treatment, the survey found.
"This is clearly an important issue for the medical profession. What does it mean when our young medical trainees say they don't want to have to deal with one of the most urgent health problems of this generation?" said Dr. Molly Cooke, who directed the study presented at the 6th International AIDS Conference.
The written survey included questions about the residents' attitudes toward homosexuals, intravenous drug users and minorities - groups hard hit by the AIDS epidemic.
About 136,000 Americans have contracted AIDS since the disease was first recognized in 1981 and 83,145 of them have died.