Caring for HIV/AIDS Patients

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course HIV Safety for Florida Clinical Laboratory Personnel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about HIV Safety for Florida Clinical Laboratory Personnel (online CE course)
Caring for HIV/AIDS Patients

According to the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Health Resources and Service Administrations's HIV/AIDS Bureau, healthcare employees have to consider the needs of HIV/AIDS patients and the challenges involved with their care and treatment.
Healthcare employees need to be mindful of several special issues:
  • Patients infected with HIV face a complex array of medical, psychological, and social challenges.
  • The stigma associated with HIV/AIDS places a major psychological burden on patients. Confidentiality is critical, as is a careful assessment of each patient's emotional support system.
  • Ethnic minorities are over-represented among people with HIV. Efforts to understand and acknowledge the beliefs of patients from a variety of cultural backgrounds are necessary.
  • Laboratory professionals play a key role in the public health system's HIV prevention strategy with disease reporting.
  • Many patients have inaccurate AIDS information that can heighten their anxiety, sabotaging treatment adherence and appropriate prevention behaviors. They need assurance from their physician(s) that HIV is a treatable disease and that with successful treatment, patients may live a long time. They also need to hear explicitly that HIV is transmitted through sexual contact, intravenous drug use, and blood contact (perinatal or other), and how they can prevent transmission to others.