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

Christy E. Newman*, Robert Reynolds, Rebecca Gray, Peter Canavan, John De Wit, Marilyn McMurchie, Ronald McCoy, Michael R. Kidd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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


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