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Knowledge About AIDS Among Psychiatric Inpatients
Jay W. Baer; Priscilla C. Dwyer; Susan Lewitter-Koehler
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston

Department of psychiatry, San Francisco General Hospital

© 1988 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Our study suggests that people with major psychiatric illnesses can learn about AIDS and that the attempts of inpatient staffs to reach them could be improved. Our task force is now addressing with renewed vigor the issue of department-wide AIDS education for patients. These efforts include the selection of appropriate printed and video teaching materials and the development of group and one to-one teaching sessions and department-wide staff education.An increase in AIDS knowledge does not guarantee changes in behavior or the cessation of activities that can spread HIV (4). Nonethe less, psychiatric services must con siden how they can best integrate AIDS education into their inpatient and outpatient programs. As the epidemic grows, and more inpatientpsychiatric facilities—particularly those that specialize in longterm treatment—grapple with the thorny issue of how best to stem the spread of HIV within their institutions, it would be shameful if hu mane and relatively simple meas ures such as providing education, condoms, and adequate staffing are overlooked in favor of mandatory antibody testing and segregation, which have been seriously considered in California.

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