• HIV/AIDS — nurses' knowledge;
  • attitudes;
  • education


  • This paper provides a review of research relating to knowledge, attitudes and education of nurses in relation to HIV/AIDS.
  • Early studies portrayed nurses (and other health-care workers) as fearful of AIDS, ill-informed, and negative and discriminatory in their attitudes towards people with HIV/AIDS. Several major surveys in the UK in the late 1980s produced broadly similar findings and, in the absence of more recent countering evidence, it cannot be assumed that there has been significant improvement.
  • Research surveys of HIV/AIDS education provision for nurses are also reviewed. A recent survey of UK nursing colleges revealed weaknesses in provision, and a lack of training and confidence among nurse teachers. Although evaluation research has been scarce, some studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of various forms of education on nurses' HIV/AIDS-related knowledge and attitudes, and these are also reviewed.
  • Although early predictions of a rapidly escalating AIDS epidemic have proved to be exaggerated, at least in developed countries, it is vital that nurses do not become complacent. This review should encourage nurses, irrespective of clinical specialty, to reconsider their own knowledge and attitudes and to press for further HIV/AIDS education if they consider that it is still lacking.