Poll Says Majority Favors Quarantine for AIDS Victims
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A majority of Americans favor the quarantine of AIDS patients and some would embrace measures as drastic as marking those who suffer the deadly disease with tattoos, according to a poll published today.
The Los Angeles Times Poll found that 51 percent of adults support a quarantine of AIDS patients, 48 percent would approve of identity cards for those who test positive for AIDS antibodies and 15 percent support tattooing those with AIDS.
The poll, one of a series the Times has done on AIDS, also found public aversion to electing homosexuals, the largest AIDS risk group, to political office. People also said they are reluctant to support candidates who advance homosexual causes.
The survey of 2,308 people directed by Times pollster I.A. Lewis sought to measure support for proposals - some serious and some extreme - that have been suggested in the public debate for controlling AIDS.
The poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 5 to 12. The margin of error in the survey is 3 percentage points.
Seventy-seven percent of those responding said they would support a law making it a crime for homosexuals or others in groups at high risk for AIDS to donate blood, while 51 percent would support a law making it a crime for an AIDS patient to have sex with another person.
Although 51 percent of those polled said they favor laws to protect homosexuals against employment discrimination, AIDS notwithstanding, 45 percent said they would support testing job applicants for AIDS antibodies and 42 percent would support a law closing gay bars.
But 55 percent said they would not refuse to send their child to a classroom where another pupil had AIDS.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome destroys the body’s immune system, leaving the victim vulnerable to a variety of diseases. The presence of AIDS antibodies means a person has been exposed to the disease, not whether the person has it.
As of Monday, 15,581 AIDS cases and 8,002 deaths had been reported in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. AIDS is transmitted primarily by intimate sexual contact and the sharing of unsterilized hypodermic needles, not by casual contact.
The poll found little sympathy for gay political candidates. Suspicion about homosexuality was enough to turn almost 60 percent of the voters against a candidate for president.
Respondents in the poll were given characteristics of make-believe candidates, and when a rumor of homosexuality was included, support for a candidate dropped from 70 percent to 11 percent. Not even 1 percent said they would be more likely to support a congressional candidate because the candidate was homosexual.
The poll also asked Americans how they feel about candidates who espouse pro-homosexual views. Those less likely to vote for such a candidate outnumbered those more likely to do so by a margin of 58-2.