13 AIDS (HIV Positive) Nursing Care Plans


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a serious secondary immunodeficiency disorder caused by the retrovirus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Both diseases are characterized by the progressive destruction of cell-mediated (T-cell) immunity with subsequent effects on humoral (B-cell) immunity because of the pivotal role of the CD4+helper T cells in immune reactions. Immunodeficiency makes the patient susceptible to opportunistic infections, unusual cancers, and other abnormalities.

AIDS results from the infection of HIV which has two forms: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Both forms have the same model of transmission and similar opportunistic infections associated with AIDS, but studies indicate that HIV-2 develops more slowly and presents with milder symptoms than HIV-1. Transmission occurs through contact with infected blood or body fluids and is associated with identifiable high-risk behaviors.

Persons with HIV/AIDS have been found to fall into five general categories: (1) homosexual or bisexual men, (2) injection drug users, (3) recipients of infected blood or blood products, (4) heterosexual partners of a person with HIV infection, and (5) children born to an infected mother. The rate of infection is most rapidly increasing among minority women and is increasingly a disease of persons of color.

Nursing Care Plans

There is no cure yet for either HIV or AIDS. However, significant advances have been made to help patients control signs and symptoms and impair disease progression.


Here are 13 nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis for patients with AIDS/HIV Positive:

  1. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  2. Fatigue
  3. Acute/Chronic Pain
  4. Impaired Skin Integrity
  5. Impaired Oral Mucous Membrane
  6. Disturbed Thought Process
  7. Anxiety/Fear
  8. Social Isolation
  9. Powerlessness
  10. Deficient Knowledge
  11. Risk for Injury
  12. Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume
  13. Risk for Infection
  14. Other Possible Nursing Care Plans

Deficient Knowledge

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Lack of exposure/recall; information misinterpretation
  • Cognitive limitation
  • Unfamiliarity with information resources

Possibly evidenced by

  • Questions/request for information; statement of misconception
  • Inaccurate follow-through of instructions, development of preventable complications

Desired Outcomes

  • Verbalize understanding of condition/disease process and potential complications.
  • Identify relationship of signs/symptoms to the disease process and correlate symptoms with causative factors.
  • Verbalize understanding of therapeutic needs.
  • Correctly perform necessary procedures and explain reasons for actions.
  • Initiate necessary lifestyle changes and participate in treatment regimen.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Review disease process and future expectations.Provides knowledge base from which patient can make informed choices.
Determine level of independence or dependence and physical condition. Note extent of care and support available from family and SO and need for other caregivers.Helps plan amount of care and symptom management required and need for additional resources.
Review modes of transmission of disease, especially if newly diagnosed.Corrects myths and misconceptions; promotes safety for patient and others. Accurate epidemiological data are important in targeting prevention interventions.
Instruct patient and caregivers concerning infection control, using good handwashing techniques for everyone (patient, family, caregivers); using gloves when handling bedpans, dressings or soiled linens; wearing mask if patient has productive cough; placing soiled or wet linens in plastic bag and separating from family laundry, washing with detergent and hot water; cleaning surfaces with bleach and water solution of 1:10 ratio, disinfecting toilet bowl and bedpan with full-strength bleach; preparing patient’s food in clean area; washing dishes and utensils in hot soapy water (can be washed with the family dishes).Reduces risk of transmission of diseases; promotes wellness in presence of reduced ability of immune system to control level of flora.
Stress necessity of daily skin care, including inspecting skin folds, pressure points, and perineum, and of providing adequate cleansing and protective measures: ointments, padding.Healthy skin provides barrier to infection. Measures to prevent skin disruption and associated complications are critical.
Ascertain that patient or SO can perform necessary oral and dental care. Review procedures as indicated. Encourage regular dental care.The oral mucosa can quickly exhibit severe, progressive complications. Studies indicate that 65% of AIDS patients have some oral symptoms. Therefore, prevention and early intervention are critical.
Review dietary needs (high-protein and high-calorie) and ways to improve intake when anorexia, diarrhea, weakness, depression interfere with intake.Promotes adequate nutrition necessary for healing and support of immune system; enhances feeling of well-being.
Discuss medication regimen, interactions, and side effectsEnhances cooperation with or increases probability of success with therapeutic regimen.
Provide information about symptom management that complements medical regimen; with intermittent diarrhea, take diphenoxylate (Lomotil) before going to social event.Provides patient with increased sense of control, reduces risk of embarrassment, and promotes comfort.
Stress importance of adequate rest.Helps manage fatigue; enhances coping abilities and energy level.
Encourage activity and exercise at level that patient can tolerate.Stimulates release of endorphins in the brain, enhancing sense of well-being.
Stress necessity of continued healthcare and follow-up.Provides opportunity for altering regimen to meet individual and changing needs.
Recommend cessation of smoking.Smoking increases risk of respiratory infections and can further impair immune system.
Identify signs and symptoms requiring medical evaluation: persistent fever and night sweats, swollen glands, continued weight loss, diarrhea, skin blotches and lesions, headache, chest pain and dyspnea.Early recognition of developing complications and timely interventions may prevent progression to life-threatening situation.
Identify community resources: hospice and residential care centers, visiting nurse, home care services, Meals on Wheels, peer group support.Facilitates transfer from acute care setting for recovery/independence or end-of-life care.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other care plans related to communicable and infectious diseases:

Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.
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