Punitive Attitudes Towards Persons With HIV: A Preliminary Analysis

Sarrah Carroll, Florida State University
Marc Gertz, Florida State University
Jason T. Bratton, Florida State University

The mainstream American values rooted in society during the 1950s and 1960s have set a precedent for the idea of homosexuality as a social ill many of which are still visible today. When the knowledge of AIDS spread Americans, homosexual and heterosexual alike, feared that they would be victims of this deadly disease. Although that is possible, the extent to which this fear from a perceived social threatenting sub-population has infiltrated our society has created punitive attitudes towards people with AIDS, and by association towards homosexuals. Coercive actions taken by the government and individual actors of the criminal justice system may restrict the individual liberty. The extent to which the public supports these intrusive measures may indicate how threatening the public now views HIV positive members of the community. This study will examine several dimensions of punitive social control measures, such as mandatory registration, towards people with AIDS using data from a large telephone survey conducted in Florida. The current study will compare a random sample (N=1600) as well as an over-sample of status and other corresponding variables. From this study we expect to find more punitive attitudes towards people with AIDS versus people with other fatal diseases or none at all.

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Updated 05/20/2006