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

Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume

Nursing Diagnosis

Risk factors may include

  • Excessive losses: copious diarrhea, profuse sweating, vomiting
  • Hypermetabolic state, fever
  • Restricted intake: nausea, anorexia; lethargy

Desired outcomes

  • Maintain hydration as evidenced by moist mucous membranes, good skin turgor, stable vital signs, individually adequate urinary output.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Monitor vital signs, including CVP if available. Note hypotension, including postural changes.Indicators of circulating fluid volume.
Note temperature elevation and duration of febrile episode. Administer tepid sponge baths as indicated. Keep clothing and linens dry. Maintain comfortable environmental temperature.Around 97%, fever is one of the most frequent symptoms experienced by patients with HIV infections. Increased metabolic demands and associated excessive diaphoresis result in increased insensible fluid losses and dehydration.
Assess skin turgor, mucous membranes, and thirst.Indirect indicators of fluid status.
Measure urinary output and specific gravity. Measure and estimate amount of diarrheal loss. Note insensible losses.Increased specific gravity and decreasing urinary output reflects altered renal perfusion and circulating volume. Monitoring fluid balance is difficult in the presence of excessive GI and insensible losses.
Weigh as indicated.Although weight loss may reflect muscle wasting, sudden fluctuations reflect state of hydration. Fluid losses associated with diarrhea can quickly create a crisis and become life-threatening.
Monitor oral intake and encourage fluids of at least 2500 mL/day.Maintains fluid balance, reduces thirst, and keeps mucous membranes moist.
Make fluids easily accessible to patient; use fluids that are tolerable to patient and that replace needed electrolytesEnhances intake. Certain fluids may be too painful to consume (acidic juices) because of mouth lesions.
Eliminate foods potentiating diarrheaMay help reduce diarrhea. Use of lactose-free products helps control diarrhea in the lactose-intolerant patient.
Encourage use of live culture yogurt or OTC Lactobacillus acidophilus (lactaid).Antibiotic therapies disrupt normal bowel flora balance, leading to diarrhea. Must be taken 2 hr before or after antibiotic to prevent inactivation of live culture.
Administer fluids and electrolytes via feeding tube and IV, as appropriate.May be necessary to support or augment circulating volume, especially if oral intake is inadequate, nausea and vomiting persists.
Monitor laboratory studies as indicated: Serum or urine electrolytes; BUN/Cr; Stool specimen collection.Alerts to possible electrolyte disturbances and determines replacement needs.Evaluates renal perfusion and function. Bowel flora changes can occur with multiple or single antibiotic therapy.
Maintain hypothermia blanket if used.May be necessary when other measures fail to reduce excessive fever/insensible fluid losses.

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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