HIV/AIDS and universal precautions: knowledge and attitudes of Nepalese nursing students

Ganga Mahat, Lucille Sanzero Eller
Journal of Advanced Nursing 2009, 65 (9): 1907-15

AIM: This paper is a report of a study exploring Nepalese nursing students' knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS and universal precautions.

BACKGROUND: Nepal is facing an HIV epidemic, and nurses are primary caregivers for people living with HIV/AIDS. Insufficient knowledge and negative attitudes on the part of nursing students translate into fear, stigmatization and unwillingness to care for patients with HIV/AIDS.

METHOD: Data were collected in 2005 for this cross-sectional study in which we examined HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes and universal precautions in three levels of Nepalese nursing students (N = 127). Instruments included the HIV/AIDS Knowledge Questionnaire, HIV/AIDS Attitudes Questionnaire, HIV/AIDS Transmission Attitudes Questionnaire and Universal Precautions Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were employed to examine socio-demographic data. One-way anova, with level in school as the between-groups factor, were calculated to examine students' knowledge and attitudes.

FINDINGS: Nepalese nursing students have a large knowledge gap and negative attitudes, regardless of level of education. Their HIV/AIDS knowledge differed statistically significantly by group but there were no statistically significant group differences in general attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. Although knowledge of universal precaution improved with year of education, overall universal precautions knowledge was poor among all students, regardless of level of education.

CONCLUSION: Nursing curricula must include adequate and culturally relevant content on HIV/AIDS, attitudes towards people living with AIDS, and universal precautions.

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