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

May be related to

  • Confirmed diagnosis of a potentially terminal disease, incomplete grieving process
  • Social ramifications of AIDS; alteration in body image/desired lifestyle; advancing CNS involvement

Possibly evidenced by

  • Feelings of loss of control over own life
  • Depression over physical deterioration that occurs despite patient compliance with regimen
  • Anger, apathy, withdrawal, passivity
  • Dependence on others for care/decision making, resulting in resentment, anger, guilt

Desired Outcomes

  • Acknowledge feelings and healthy ways to deal with them.
  • Verbalize some sense of control over present situation.
  • Make choices related to care and be involved in self-care.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Identify factors that contribute to patient’s feelings of powerlessness: diagnosis of a terminal illness, lack of support systems, lack of knowledge about present situation.Patients with AIDS are usually aware of the current literature and prognosis unless newly diagnosed. Powerlessness is most prevalent in a patient newly diagnosed with HIV and when dying with AIDS. Fear of AIDS (by the general population and the patient’s family/SO) is the most profound cause of patient’s isolation. For some homosexual patients, this may be the first time that the family has been made aware that patient lives an alternative lifestyle.
Assess degree of feelings of helplessness: verbal or nonverbal expressions indicating lack of control, flat affect, lack of communication.Determines the status of the individual patient and allows for appropriate intervention when patient is immobilized by depressed feelings.
Encourage active role in planning activities, establishing realistic and attainable daily goals. Encourage patient control and responsibility as much as possible. Identify things that patient can and cannot control.May enhance feelings of control and self-worth and sense of personal responsibility.
Encourage Living Will and durable medical power of attorney documents, with specific and precise instructions regarding acceptable and unacceptable procedures to prolong life.Many factors associated with the treatments used in this debilitating and often fatal disease process place patient at the mercy of medical personnel and other unknown people who may be making decisions for and about patient without regard for patient’s wishes, increasing loss of independence.
Discuss desires and assist with planning for funeral as appropriate.The individual can gain a sense of completion and value to his or her life when he or she decides to be involved in planning this final ceremony. This provides an opportunity to include things that are of importance to the person.

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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