Research Article

How do patients with HIV perceive their general practitioners?

BMJ 1991; 303 doi: (Published 30 November 1991) Cite this as: BMJ 1991;303:1365
  1. M M Kochen,
  2. J C Hasford,
  3. H Jäger,
  4. S Zippel,
  5. M L'age,
  6. C Rosendahl,
  7. H S Füessl,
  8. D Eichenlaub
  1. Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.


    OBJECTIVE--To study the perceptions of patients with HIV of their general practitioners in terms of knowledge, abilities, confidence, and satisfaction. DESIGN--Questionnaire survey of inpatients, outpatients, and members of a self help group. SETTING--Two city hospitals, three outpatient clinics, and one AIDS self help group in Munich and Berlin, Germany. SUBJECTS--All 402 patients available between 1 September 1988 and 31 May 1989. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--General practitioners' attitudes towards the patients' HIV status; patients' experience of treatment rejection; reception in the general practitioner's office; the doctor's perceived knowledge about HIV and AIDS. RESULTS--394 of 402 patients consented to interview; 87% were registered with a general practitioner and 91% of those indicated that the doctor was aware of their HIV diagnosis. The overwhelming majority of patients (94%) had a friendly or at least neutral reception in the general practitioner's surgery and only six patients' general practitioner changed his or her behaviour for the worse because of the HIV diagnosis. Two thirds of patients said they would consult first with their primary care doctor for a physical problem, but only 13% would do so for psychological problems. Over a third of the patients did not routinely inform other doctors or medical staff about their HIV status, but there was no significant correlation between this concealment and ever having been rejected by a doctor (7%) or a dentist (12%). CONCLUSION--Most patients expressed a high degree of satisfaction with their general practitioners in terms of confidential issues, attitudes, knowledge, and management.