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Male and female college students (N = 60) provided baseline ratings on the appearance, personality and characteristics of a male target projected on a screen. Afterwards, subjects read one of five scenarios, four of which identified the target person as contacting the autoimmune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) disease by one of the following means: homosexual contact. heterosexual contact, intravenous drug use, or a blood transfusion. A fifth control scenario identifying the target as having an unspecified genetic deteriorating disease. Following presentation of scenarios, again subjects rated the target (Non-deteriorated Condition) as well as after viewing the male model cosmetically doctored to appear near death (Near Death Condition). Results indicated that in the nondeterioration condition, targets who contracting the AIDS disease via sexual encounters or illicit drug injection (internal causes) were perceived to be less trustworthy, less moral, and less desirable as a prospective friend than the target described as contracting the disease from a blood transfusion (external cause) A "sympathy effect" did not occur when victims physically deteriorated, as predicted, and even the blood transfusion AIDS victim came to be socially rejected in the near death condition.