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A short questionnaire on general practitioners' self perceived and actual knowledge of AIDS and their attitudes to the illness was sent to 1824 general practitioners throughout the United Kingdom. The rate of response was 70%. Women doctors, those who trained overseas, and those who were married tended to have less positive attitudes towards patients with HIV and AIDS, whereas younger doctors, trainers, and members of the Royal College of General Practitioners were more understanding, better informed, and had more positive attitudes. Doctors with the least knowledge about HIV and AIDS and the most negative attitudes towards the illness would benefit from further education, which would be most effectively delivered through the professional journals, the Department of Health and the charitable AIDS organisations.