This study describes the beliefs, the attitudes and the intentions to act toward persons infected with AIDS, of a group of nurses of the greater Montreal area (n = 427). A questionnaire (71 items) was mailed to 1000 randomly selected Montreal nurses and was completed by 427 of them. The majority of these nurses were female (82.5%) and did not possess a university diploma (64.8%). Most of them had at least 15 years of experience and more than half of them had already taken care of a patient with AIDS. It was found that the nurses' knowledge of AIDS was limited: they do not understand the signification of seropositivity and they had little knowledge of the epidemiological dimensions of the illness. The younger nurses tend to adopt the prejudices and beliefs already endorsed by society: isolation, obligatory testing and homophobia. A factor analysis of the beliefs, attitudes and intent to act sub-scales permits the identification of nine factors (fears, prejudices, emotional support, mistrust, avoidance, quality of care, false security, AIDS equals sex and more experience equals less fear). These factors tend to be associated with certain sociodemographic characteristics. The nurses who are less knowledgeable, who are most prejudiced, and who least intend to care for the client with AIDS are: 1) the younger nurses (21-34 years old); 2) those who see the media as their primary source of information and 3) those who have never cared for seropositive clients. This study allows us to render judgement on the values of a specific group of francophone nurses within a fixed time-place framework.