HIV prevention in practice: an assessment of the public health response of physicians and nurses in the Midwest

J Community Health. 2004 Feb;29(1):63-73. doi: 10.1023/b:johe.0000007445.73199.7b.


Epidemiological trends in HIV infection in the United States suggest existing primary and secondary prevention efforts are inadequate. Healthcare providers may be missing valuable opportunities to engage in necessary public health services, such as prevention education, risk assessment, and case finding. This study examined the HIV-related practice behaviors and training needs of physicians and nurses in the Midwest. A cross-sectional survey method was employed. A questionnaire was mailed to a probability sample of 1,500 physicians and registered nurses licensed as of August 1999 in one of six Midwestern states. A total of 534 physicians and nurses replied to the survey, and over half had received prior HIV-related continuing medical education and training. One third of nurses and 26.8 percent of physicians reported that they did not engage in any HIV-related public health role in their practice. Physicians with prior HIV continuing medical education and training were 3.1 times more likely to report HIV-related public health services in their practice than providers without prior training (p = .004). Nurses with prior experience serving HIV-infected patients were 2.0 times more likely to identify a public health role (p = .012). These findings reflect the need for greater awareness among medical providers of the importance of assuming a public health role with the HIV epidemic.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Nurse's Role / psychology*
  • Physician's Role / psychology*
  • Public Health Practice
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Rural Health Services / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health Services / standards