Research Article

Psychological and social problems in HIV infection: interviews with general practitioners in London.

BMJ 1989; 299 doi: (Published 16 September 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;299:713
  1. M. B. King
  1. Institute of Psychiatry, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To assess current practice and opinions of general practitioners in London about managing psychological and social problems relating to HIV infection. DESIGN--A stratified random sample of general practitioners, including those with a range of experience of people with HIV infection, were interviewed by medically trained interviewers. SETTING--Doctor's surgeries. PARTICIPANTS--270 General practitioners working within the area covered by London postcodes. RESULTS--Two thirds of doctors had treated at least one patient with HIV infection and described their work with these patients. General practitioners were counselling and educating many of their patients about AIDS and associated risk behaviours and were aware of the need for careful attention to confidentiality. Doctors with no experience of patients with HIV infection were often older, in singlehanded practice, less inclined to deal with drug abusers or to counsel their patients on risk behaviours, and more in favour of insurance companies' policies towards people with HIV infection. CONCLUSIONS--General practitioners in London are quickly becoming involved in the care of patients with HIV infection and their relatives and friends. Many are counselling patients and testing for antibodies themselves and regard this as an integral part of their work. A considerable workload in primary care comprised patients who obsessively fear contracting HIV infection.