Original Articles

Knowledge, attitudes and practices towards patients with HIV/AIDS in staff nurses in one university hospital in Sicily


Abstract


Background: nurses’ knowledge, attitudes and practices towards patients with HIV/AIDS are of ongoing interest, especially in developing countries. Nothing or very little is known about Italian nurses.

Methods: HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of the nurses (n=107) from one university hospital inCatania,Sicily, were documented. Comparisons among nurses belonging to different Operative Units (O.U.) were conducted by the chi-square test (P<0.05).

Results: although HIV was nurses’ main concern in regard to contracting infections in the workplace (54%), the vast majority of them (98%) had never refused an HIV/AIDS patient care assignment. Moreover, despite their concern of being more at risk of contracting HIV than the general population (41%), a not negligible percentage of nurses did not use gloves routinely (21%) and only a few treated all patients as potentially HIV-positive (9%). The vast majority of the respondents knew the meaning of AIDS (87%) and of a positive serological test (78%). On the contrary, a relatively low percentage of them knew what is the ‘window period’ (62%) and were acquainted with HIV pathophysiology (65%). No statistically significant differences in terms of risk perception were found between nurses who had previously attended an HIV/AIDS workshop, lecture or specific course (43%) and nurses who did not (57%). Level of knowledge was positively associated to age (P=0.000) and to education (P=0.016), and it was found higher in nurses working in a O.U. of Infectious Diseases.

Conclusions: data from our study show that also in developed countries, such as Italy, nurses could have some misconceptions and concerns about HIV/AIDS. The importance of examining the impact of continuing education on nurses’ preparedness to care for patients with HIV/AIDS and to prevent the risks of occupational HIV transmission is discussed. 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2427/8731

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aprex-9933

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EBPH Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health | ISSN 2282-0930

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