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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AIDS: The Silent Treatment

June 3, 1993
Health (05/93-06/93), P. 16

Doctors do not educate their patients enough about AIDS, according to a study by researchers from the University of California. The researchers questioned 1,312 people if, during medical checkups in the past five years, a physician had discussed AIDS or asked them about high risk sexual behavior. Those who said no accounted for 80 percent. When AIDS was addressed, doctors initiated the conversation only 21 percent of the time. According to psychologist Barbara Gerbert, one of the authors of the report, doctors assume that patients who believe they are at risk for HIV infection will ask the questions. However, the survey found that less than a quarter of people in high risk groups had brought up the issue. "Doctors must think patients wear signs saying, 'I'm the one to talk to about AIDS,'" says Gerbert.