The stigma of AIDS: fear of disease and prejudice toward gay men
St Lawrence, J.S.; Husfeldt, B.A.; Kelly, J.A.; Hood, H.V.; Smith, S.
Journal of Homosexuality 19(3): 85-101
ISSN/ISBN: 0091-8369 PMID: 2212632 DOI: 10.1300/j082v19n03_05
Three hundred college students were presented with vignettes describing an ill person; the vignettes were identical except the illness was identified as either AIDS or leukemia and the individual was described as either homosexual or heterosexual. After reading one vignette, each subject completed a set of measures sensitive to interpersonal evaluation, prejudicial attitudes, and willingness to interact casually with the portrayed individual. The findings indicate the presence of highly stigmatizing attitudes towards AIDS patients and suggest that the public views AIDS patients and gay persons with similar attitudinal prejudice. The need for greater attention to AIDS by social and behavioral researchers is discussed.