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In a study of 263 homosexual men positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it was found that 87% were registered with a general practitioner and of these, 55% said that the general practitioner knew their HIV status. Of the 104 men who had experienced symptoms, 39% had consulted the general practitioner for HIV-related advice. A total of 49% of those who were not registered used a specialist outpatient clinic for all their medical needs. Of those who were registered and whose general practitioner was aware of their HIV status but who did not consult their doctor, 72% used a specialist outpatient clinic. Reasons for not consulting the general practitioner included fears of breach of confidentiality and lack of confidence in the general practitioner's understanding of HIV. Fifteen per cent of the sample continued to see a general practitioner who was unaware of their HIV status, for non-HIV related advice. The needs of patients must be taken into account when planning more integrated hospital and community care for those with HIV infection or the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).