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Within the growing literature on AIDS, relatively little attention has been paid to the public's knowledge and perception of the disease. Even less is known about nurses’ understanding of, and attitudes towards AIDS, even though in large part, the treatment and care of AIDS patients rests in their hands. As a partial corrective to this deficiency, this study offers a comparative examination of AIDS-related beliefs and attitudes held by nursing practitioners and nursing students in Canada. Briefly stated, what the research reveals is that Canadian nurses are less than fully informed about the disease and have over-cautious attitudes towards the care of AIDS patients. Among nursing students, lack of information is also a serious problem, although this group does tend to view AIDS patient care in a somewhat more liberal manner. It is apparent from these results that more attention needs to be paid to enhancing knowledge of, and changing attitudes towards, AIDS in the education of Canadian nurses.