Teaching HIV-specific content for pre-licensure nursing and health professions students: a review and synthesis

AIDS Care. 2018 Dec;30(12):1614-1621. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2018.1510108. Epub 2018 Aug 16.


Persistent Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevalence rates remain a challenge, particularly because health care providers (HCP) are not fully prepared to engage in HIV care. This hesitancy to engage creates access to care barriers for people living with HIV (PLWH). We conducted a systematic review to identify educational interventions focused on developing HIV competencies in higher education across health science disciplines. We searched databases for primary studies focused on interventions. Using PRISMA guidelines, we identified 20 articles from 19 distinct studies. While there was an overwhelming body of literature that assessed knowledge, skills, and attitudes in health sciences students on HIV and AIDS, the low number of intervention studies was notable. With the exception of two studies, PLWH were not included in the interventions. This finding stands in sharp contrast to the well-established Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV and/or AIDS (GIPA) and Meaningful Engagement of People Living with HIV and/or AIDS (MEPA) principles. The primary means of the educational intervention was focused on delivering lectures to address HIV and AIDS knowledge for HCP. There was a significant lack of focus on historical, cultural, policy and legal contexts of HIV and AIDS care; theoretical justifications for the interventions were absent. No study focused on the impact of an intervention on the care provided to PLWH by HCP after graduation. There is an urgent need to develop long-term sustainable and scalable interventions that address the consistently identified lack of knowledge and skills, and stigmatizing attitudes of HCP and students.

Keywords: HIV; Pre-licensure; curriculum; intervention; post-secondary education; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / nursing*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Stereotyping
  • Students, Health Occupations*

Grant support