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Physicians and AIDS care: does knowledge influence their attitude and comfort in rendering care?

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Adequate knowledge, positive attitude, and feeling of comfort are important factors in providing compassionate care to patients. The purpose of this study was to assess physicians' knowledge, attitude and global comfort in caring for patients with AIDS (PWA), to determine the sociodemographic variables that could influence physicians' attitude and global comfort, and to identify any relationship between their knowledge, attitude and comfort. Consultants and residents (N=211) in two Nigerian teaching hospitals were surveyed using a two-part questionnaire. Part I elicited sociodemographic and previous AIDS encounter information, and Part II assessed knowledge, attitude and global comfort with AIDS patients care. Nigerian physicians showed satisfactory knowledge, but they harbored negative attitude and low level of comfort in caring for PWA. Previous AIDS care experience, age and being a consultant or a senior resident influenced attitude, while male gender and knowing someone with AIDS influenced global comfort. Knowledge is weakly but positively associated with attitude, while attitude is modestly associated with comfort. The study reinforced the need for an ongoing education focused on experiential learning, and professional socialization in order to influence physicians' attitude and enhance their feeling of comfort when caring for PWA. African Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 14 (1-2) 2007: pp. 37-43


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