Impact of HIV/AIDs on Nursing Curriculum in the US

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The number of HIV/AIDS patients in the United States

The number of HIV/AIDS patients in the United States has grown over the past decade. At the end of 2009, the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in North America was 1.5 million. The number of AIDS-related deaths was twenty-six thousand among both children and adults in the area. A similar pattern has also been observed in Central and South America, with a number of 1.4 million patients (Hanson, Venturelli, and Annette 510). A record of fifty-eight thousand adults and children died of AIDs. These figures have continued to escalate since the year 2009, which has facilitated the need to make reforms in the health sector. The primary target has been on changing the curriculum for the nursing students with the aim of improving their skills to provide sustainable health services. Therefore, the disease AIDs has caused colleges in the USA to alter the Nursing curriculum. These changes have resulted in a more open, and integrated nursing education that helps people living with AIDs to live comfortably and peacefully with each other.

The Need for Change

Every year, approximately five thousand people get infected with AIDs in the American region. This trend has been persistent in the twenty-first century. The emerging issues in the health sector are that most nurses in the US graduate and practice without the basic minimum skills that are necessary to provide safe and competent care for AIDs patients. Nurses who graduate without intellectual content and clinical experience in the field of HIV/AIDs have little understanding of the social, political and economic impact of the disease. The majority of the nurses also lack awareness concerning their professional responsibilities and obligations concerning the patients’ confidentiality concerning HIV/AIDs (Swanson 317). Recent research indicates that HIV/AIDs patients endure stigma and discrimination in the healthcare sector. Knowledge concerning HIV/AIDs plays a significant role in shaping the attitude of many practicing nurses.

The current nursing program is not well suited to meet the social needs of the HIV/AIDs patients. The US colleges have played a significant role making necessary changes in the curriculum to meet the needs of the patients. The changes give the nurses the ability to intervene the needs of the people living with HIV/AIDs (Dyk 166). The fundamental changes have managed to make the nursing education to be more open, relevant integrated information in a more flexible system and equipped the nurses with the skills needed to curb discrimination and stigma.

Significant Changes

Behavioral change is an important process that includes changes in the community and sexual practices and values in a community. This process also promotes the availability of voluntary and confidential counseling and HIV testing services. The current form of nursing education must support these needs as well as create possibilities of open and honest discussion of sexuality and AIDs-related deaths. Education is the essential tool for manipulating the community norms and values (Umunna 340). However, the school has failed to support the open discussions of topics concerning drug abuse, sexuality, and sex education, sexually conducted diseases and the pertinent facts of the biological reproductive system. As a result, such an education system makes many people reluctant to go against the norms and values that relate to sex and sexuality.

Colleges in the US have done changes that help to push the system into an open and frank discussion of the sex and sexuality in the colleges and the community. This change aims at creating a greater cultural sensitivity and intimacy of the nurses towards the community. Consequently, the nurses manage to offer efficient services to the members of the community and impart sustainable knowledge concerning AIDs to the society as a whole. A well-informed community can curb and manage the AIDs epidemic more effectively.

A flexible System that Integrates AIDs information

After the education system gains the ability and willingness to deliver the AIDs information to the community, there is a need for the system to decide the right content. The system should also determine the recipients, the mode of transfer and the right channel to transfer this information. The current changes aim at transforming the system from one that delivers a strictly health-based information concerning AIDs in tradition way (Valerio, Beasley and Donald 136). Therefore, the changes integrate all aspects of the HIV/AIDs. The primary target is all the nurses so that they gain the required skills to meet the needs of the patients.

Colleges have integrated relevant content in the current nursing education that makes nurses gain useful skills. For instance, the inclusion of life skills education, family life education and community education about HIV/AIDs has served to equip the nurses with the required health education. The current nursing programs have a good design that promotes active learning of the right content. For example, the current teaching methodologies allow the nursing students to access more practical experience. Therefore, they gain the necessary skills required in the hospitals to handle the AIDs patients.

A System that Helps to Curb Stigma and Discrimination

In the past, many HIV/AIDs patients have faced discrimination and victimization from health practitioners. In particular, nurses contributed to the stigmatization of HIV patients by being reluctant to participate in testing processes, counseling and reporting on issues concerning HIV. The result of stigma is fear of infection, segregation, denial, bodily and verbal abuse, and reluctance to seek out health care.

The current nursing education has played a significant role in integrating practices that reduce stigma and discrimination among the HIV patients. Allowing the students to participate in hospice activities creates a better connection between the patients and the nurses (Pequegnat and Bell 110). As a result, the stigmatized patients can get enough support from the nurses, which helps to reduce their stigma.

Another practical approach is allowing the nursing students to join the nursing association. This step allows them to interact with more experienced nurses in matters concerning HIV. The approach further promotes an empowered staff, having the ability to implement policies and communicate the issues concerning HIV/AIDs.


From the above analysis, the number of people living with HIV/AIDs is on the rise. The traditional nurse training did not promote effective practices that could help better the conditions of these patients. As a result, discrimination and stigmatization among the patients increased among the HIV patients. The colleges in the US have played a significant role in promoting effective changes in the nursing curriculum that can enable to curb the challenges they face. The most effective changes identified include making the nursing education more flexible, integrating the right information into the school system and using strategies to reduce stigma and discrimination. Proper implementation of these changes in the nursing education system may serve to lessen the rate of spread of HIV.

Works Cited

Dyk, V.C. Alta. HIV/AIDs Care and Cancelling: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Johannesburg: Pearson South Africa, 2010. Document.

Hanson, Glen, Peter Venturelli and Fleckenstein Annette. Drugs and Society. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publisher, 2011. Document.

Pequegnat, Willo and Carl Bell. Family and HIV/AIDS: Cultural and Contextual Issues in Prevention and Treatment. New York: Springer Science & Business Media, 2011. Document.

Swanson, Barbara. ANAC's Core Curriculum for HIV/AIDs Nursing. London: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2010. Document.

Umunna, E. Gregory. HIV/AIDs: Political Will and Hope. New York: Xlibris Corporation, 2011. Document.

Valerio, Alexandria, Michael Beasley and A.P. Bundy Donald. A Sourcebook of HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs: Education sector-wide approaches. Washington DC: World Bank Publications, 2008. Document.

October 12, 2022




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