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

Acute/Chronic Pain

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Tissue inflammation/destruction: infections, internal/external cutaneous lesions, rectal excoriation, malignancies, necrosis
  • Peripheral neuropathies, myalgias, and arthralgias
  • Abdominal cramping

Possibly evidenced by

  • Reports of pain
  • Self-focusing; narrowed focus, guarding behaviors
  • Alteration in muscle tone; muscle cramping, ataxia, muscle weakness, paresthesias, paralysis
  • Autonomic responses; restlessness

Desired Outcomes

  • Report pain relieved/controlled.
  • Demonstrate relaxed posture/facial expression.
  • Be able to sleep/rest appropriately.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess pain reports, noting location, intensity (0–10 scale), frequency, and time of onset. Note nonverbal cues like restlessness, tachycardia, grimacing.Indicates need for or effectiveness of interventions and may signal development or resolution of complications. Chronic pain does not produce autonomic changes; however, acute and chronic pain can coexist.
Instruct and encourage patient to report pain as it develops rather than waiting until level is severe.Efficacy of comfort measures and medications is improved with timely intervention.
Encourage verbalization of feelings.Can reduce anxiety and fear and thereby reduce perception of intensity of pain.
Provide diversional activities: provide reading materials, light exercising, visiting, etc.Refocuses attention; may enhance coping abilities.
Perform palliative measures: repositioning, massage, ROM of affected joints.Promotes relaxation and decreases muscle tension.
Instruct and encourage use of visualization, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, deep-breathing techniques, meditation, and mindfulness.Promotes relaxation and feeling of well-being. May decrease the need for narcotic analgesics (CNS depressants) when a neuro/motor degenerative process is already involved. May not be successful in presence of dementia, even when dementia is minor. Mindfulness is the skill of staying in the here and now.
Provide oral care.Oral ulcerations and lesions may cause severe discomfort.
Apply warm or moist packs to pentamidine injection and IV sites for 20 min after administration.These injections are known to cause pain and sterile abscesses
Administer analgesics and/or antipyretics, narcotic analgesics. Use patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) or provide around-the-clock analgesia with rescue doses prn.Provides relief of pain and discomfort; reduces fever. PCA or around-the-clock medication keeps the blood level of analgesia stable, preventing cyclic undermedication or overmedication. Drugs such as Ativan may be used to potentiate effects of analgesics.

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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