Surviving an epidemic: Australian GPs on caring for people with HIV and AIDS in the early years

Christy Newman, Robert Reynolds, Rebecca Gray, Peter Canavan, John de Wit, M Mcmurchie, Ronald McCoy, Michael Kidd

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    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Background Although general practitioners (GPs) play a central role in responding to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Australia, the social history of their contribution in the early years has remained largely untold. Methods In-depth interviews were conducted with 21 GPs who provided HIV care between 1982 and 1996. De-identified transcripts were broadly coded in NVivo, then analysed for themes regarding GP experiences during the early years. Results Participants recalled a time of death, fear and prejudice, with large numbers of patients diagnosed with and dying from a highly stigmatised disease. An enduring emotional legacy resulted, with GPs developing survival strategies such as better managing relationships with patients, seeking mental health support and reducing working hours. Discussion These GPs represent the first generation of GPs in Australia caring for people with HIV. Understanding their experiences can inform and inspire the next generation, who inherit a much brighter future for HIV care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)734-738
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustralian Family Physician
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Aids
    • General practice
    • History of medicine
    • Hiv


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