chapter  9
Reactions of the general population to AIDS: the relationship between sociodemographic variables and lay concepts of disease aetiology
Rüdiger Jacob, Willy H. Eirmbter and Alois
ByThe relationship between sociodemo- graphic variables and lay concepts of disease aetiology
Pages 13

AIDS: the starting point In Germany the prevalence of HIV is still low, compared to other diseases, but AIDS remains one of the main causes of death for young adults (Heilig, 1989). Although the virus is difficult to transmit and is directly connected to very specific behaviours, AIDS has caused social reactions like stigma and exclusion of infected persons and persons believed to be infected, reactions which are not commensurate with the actual threat posed by the disease. For that reason, the term ‘social infection with AIDS’ (Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg, 1987) was coined to describe the reaction of society to the epidemic.