This study compared the effectiveness of an AIDS knowledge-only program (knowledge)
with a combined program of AIDS knowledge and contact with people having HIV/AIDS
(PHA) (knowledge-contact) in reducing nursing students' stigma and discrimination
towards PHA and in enhancing their emotional competence to serve PHA. Eighty-nine
nursing students from two universities in Hong Kong were randomly assigned to either
the knowledge or the knowledge-contact condition. All participants completed measures
of AIDS knowledge, stigmatizing attitudes, fear of contagion, willingness to treat,
positive affect, and negative affect at pre-test, post-test, and six-week follow-up.
Findings showed that in both groups, significant improvement in AIDS knowledge, stigmatizing
attitudes, fear of contagion, willingness to treat, and negative affect were found
at post-test. The effects on AIDS knowledge, fear of contagion, willingness to treat,
and negative affect were sustained at follow-up for both groups. Intergroup comparisons
at post-test showed that the effectiveness of knowledge-contact program was significantly
greater than knowledge program in improving stigmatizing attitudes. No significant
difference between the two groups was found at follow-up. Findings showed the short-term
effect of contact in improving nursing students' attitudes and emotional competence
in serving PHA. Implications for research and training of nursing staff were discussed.
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