Title. HIV/AIDS and universal precautions: knowledge and attitudes of Nepalese nursing students.
Aim. This paper is a report of a study exploring Nepalese nursing students’ knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS and universal precautions.
Background. Nepal is facing an HIV epidemic, and nurses are primary caregivers for people living with HIV/AIDS. Insufficient knowledge and negative attitudes on the part of nursing students translate into fear, stigmatization and unwillingness to care for patients with HIV/AIDS.
Method. Data were collected in 2005 for this cross-sectional study in which we examined HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes and universal precautions in three levels of Nepalese nursing students (N = 127). Instruments included the HIV/AIDS Knowledge Questionnaire, HIV/AIDS Attitudes Questionnaire, HIV/AIDS Transmission Attitudes Questionnaire and Universal Precautions Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were employed to examine socio-demographic data. One-way anova, with level in school as the between-groups factor, were calculated to examine students’ knowledge and attitudes.
Findings. Nepalese nursing students have a large knowledge gap and negative attitudes, regardless of level of education. Their HIV/AIDS knowledge differed statistically significantly by group but there were no statistically significant group differences in general attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. Although knowledge of universal precaution improved with year of education, overall universal precautions knowledge was poor among all students, regardless of level of education.
Conclusion. Nursing curricula must include adequate and culturally relevant content on HIV/AIDS, attitudes towards people living with AIDS, and universal precautions.