Title. Attitudes of nursing students towards caring for people with HIV/AIDS: thematic literature review.
Aim. This paper is a report of a literature review conducted to examine current research studies into attitudes of nursing students towards caring for people with HIV/AIDS and to identify factors that influenced those attitudes to inform current nursing practice and to develop nursing education regarding care provided to people with HIV/AIDS.
Background. Attitudes of nurses towards people living with HIV/AIDS have long been scrutinized. Studies show that some nurses have negative attitudes and are reluctant to provide care to people with HIV/AIDS, resulting in poorer quality nursing support being provided. Attitudes of nursing students towards caring for people with HIV/AIDS is thus of vital importance since they become the future practising nurses.
Data sources. Eight electronic data bases were searched from 1996–2008.
Review methods. Criteria used for study selection were: attitudes of nursing students towards caring for people with HIV/AIDS, primary research studies, published in English language in peer reviewed journals from 1996 to June 2008. Sixteen studies were identified for inclusion in this thematic review.
Results. The following themes were identified: education and knowledge of HIV/AIDS; fear of contracting HIV/AIDS; reluctance to care for people with HIV/AIDS; homophobia; and stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Conclusion. There is reluctance on the part of some nursing students in specific regions of the world to provide care for people with HIV/AIDS. Educational programmes based on research evidence must play a leading role in developing strategies to help nursing students understand and overcome such attitudes.