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


Nursing Diagnosis

  • Anxiety
  • Fear

May be related to

  • Threat to self-concept, threat of death, change in health/socioeconomic status, role functioning
  • Interpersonal transmission and contagion
  • Separation from support system
  • Fear of transmission of the disease to family/loved ones

Possibly evidenced by

  • Increased tension, apprehension, feelings of helplessness/hopelessness
  • Expressed concern regarding changes in life
  • Fear of unspecific consequences
  • Somatic complaints, insomnia; sympathetic stimulation, restlessness

Desired Outcomes

  • Verbalize awareness of feelings and healthy ways to deal with them.
  • Display appropriate range of feelings and lessened fear/anxiety.
  • Demonstrate problem-solving skills.
  • Use resources effectively.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assure patient of confidentiality within limits of situation.Provides reassurance and opportunity for patient to problem-solve solutions to anticipated situations.
Maintain frequent contact with patient. Talk with and touch patient. Limit use of isolation clothing and masks.Provides assurance that patient is not alone or rejected; conveys respect for and acceptance of the person, fostering trust.
Provide accurate, consistent information regarding prognosis. Avoid arguing about patient’s perceptions of the situation.Can reduce anxiety and enable patient to make decisions and choices based on realities.
Be alert to signs of withdrawal, anger, or inappropriate remarks as these can be signs of indenial or depression. Determine presence of suicidal ideation and assess potential on a scale of 1–10.Patient may use defense mechanism of denial and continue to hope that diagnosis is inaccurate. Feelings of guilt and spiritual distress may cause patient to become withdrawn and believe that suicide is a viable alternative. Although patient may be too “sick” to have enough energy to implement thoughts, ideation must be taken seriously and appropriate intervention initiated.
Provide open environment in which patient feels safe to discuss feelings or to refrain from talking.Helps patient feel accepted in present condition without feeling judged, and promotes sense of dignity and control.
Permit expressions of anger, fear, despair without confrontation. Give information that feelings are normal and are to be appropriately expressed.Acceptance of feelings allows patient to begin to deal with situation.
Recognize and support the stage patient and/or family is at in the grieving process.Choice of interventions as dictated by stage of grief, coping behaviors
Explain procedures, providing opportunity for questions and honest answers. Arrange for someone to stay with patient during anxiety-producing procedures and consultations.Accurate information allows patient to deal more effectively with the reality of the situation, thereby reducing anxiety and fear of the known.
Identify and encourage patient interaction with support systems. Encourage verbalization and interaction with family/SO.Reduces feelings of isolation. If family support systems are not available, outside sources may be needed immediately
Provide reliable and consistent information and support for SO.Allows for better interpersonal interaction and reduction of anxiety and fear.
Include SO as indicated when major decisions are to be made.Ensures a support system for patient, and allows SO the chance to participate in patient’s life. If patient, family, and SO are in conflict, separate care consultations and visiting times may be needed.
Discuss Advance Directives, end-of-life desires or needs. Review specific wishes and explain various options clearly.May assist patient or SO to plan realistically for terminal stages and death. Many individuals do not understand medical terminology or options,
Refer to psychiatric counseling (psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, psychiatrist, social worker).May require further assistance in dealing with diagnosis or prognosis, especially when suicidal thoughts are present.
Provide contact with other resources as indicated: Spiritual advisor or hospice staffProvides opportunity for addressing spiritual concerns. May help relieve anxiety regarding end-of-life care and support for patient/SO.

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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