Five studies explored the psychological bases of attitudes toward persons afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). These studies examined both instrumental and symbolic bases of these attitudes. In Studies 1, 2, and 3, both instrumental factors (e.g., beliefs about the probability of one's own child contracting AIDS) and symbolic factors (general attitudes toward homosexuality) independently contributed to the prediction of attitudes toward having one's child attend classes with a nonhomosexual person having AIDS. In Study 4, only attitudes toward homosexuality (symbolic factors) and not beliefs about contagiousness related to students' expressing a desire to transfer from a class with an AIDS-infected professor. In Study 5, subjects role played the situation experienced by subjects in Study 4. A wider array of instrumental concerns was assessed. While both instrumental and symbolic factors were related to attitudes of role-playing subjects, the specific instrumental concerns of importance were related to beliefs about subjects' feeling comfortable with the professor and not the contagiousness of AIDS. Thus, these results paralleled those of Study 4. These findings are discussed with regard to their relevance for understanding the varying functions of attitudes and for understanding the stigmatization of disease victims.