A qualitative, non-experimental study was conducted to identify the feelings and attitudes that nurses associate with caring for people with AIDS Data collection and analysis were guided by the phenomenological method Cognitive dissonance theory served as the theoretical framework to view the experience of caring for someone with AIDS Data analysis of audiotaped, semi-structured interviews resulted in the identification of six mutually inclusive as well as exclusive themes which represent the attitudes and feelings of nurses fear, anger, sympathy, self-enhancement, fatigue and helplessness Particularly evident were differences in the way respondents perceived and treated AIDS patients who are intravenous drug users and those who are homosexuals