A Clinical and Ethical Investigation of Pre-medical and Medical Students’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Understanding of HIV
Aultman, Julie M.
Borges, Nicole J.
- Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Medical Education Online
(issn: 1087-2981, eissn: 1087-2981)
Ninety-five students participated in a qualitative study examining pre-medical and firstyear medical students’ knowledge, understanding, and attitudes surrounding HIV. Participants were given a questionnaire to assess general knowledge and to assess students’ ability to identify and discern psychosocial and ethical dilemmas using 2 case studies about fictionalized HIV patients and the issues they face in disclosing their diagnosis of HIV and adhering to prescribed treatment regimens. A content analysis was used to examine the students’ responses for themes. Results suggested that most students have a general understanding of HIV. Many students, however, are unable to identify and differentiate psychosocial factors from ethical factors when presented with HIV case studies. Answers reflecting students’ attitudes of HIV varied and contained identifiable biases and prejudices, such as placing blame on individuals who acquire the disease through “risky” behaviors. Pedagogical strategies for improving HIV education and developing students’ professional and moral growth as future healthcare providers are identified. Keywords: HIV, Medical education, Ethics, Psychosocial.