Abstract This study compares police officers and registered nurses and the general public concerning their perceptions of the risk of HIV infection, attitudes toward HIV-infected individuals, and attitudes toward measures used to fight the AIDS epidemic. Information was obtained through mail questionnaires sent to random samples of individuals, aged 25–44 years, from the 3 groups. The samples included 525, 501 and 1600 individual respectively. Response rates were 85, 93 and 74%. The study showed good knowledge concerning verified carriers of HIV infection (blood, sperm, vaginal secretion, etc.). A widespread fear of unverified carriers of infection (public toilets, kissing on the mouth) existed particularly among the public and police officers. Negative attitudes toward HIV-infected individuals and demands for compulsory measures were common among all groups, although least common among nurses and most common among the police. Positive relationships were established between the fear of unverified carriers of infection, repulsive attitudes toward individuals infected by HIV, and demands for compulsory measures.