Survey: Social Norms Play Significant Role in HIV Screening

Nurses who work in supportive environments more likely to screen patients

Recent survey results suggest that nurse practitioners who work in offices where staff supports of routine HIV screening are more likely to screen patients for infection.

In the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, researchers wrote that medical practices should consider HIV social norms as a “mediator to increase screening rates.”

“We found that the strongest predictor of nurse practitioner HIV screening behaviors was social normative expectations, followed by beliefs regarding routine HIV screening,” Jodi L. Sutherland, PhD, RN, ACRN, clinical assistant professor at the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University, told Infectious Disease News.

Sutherland and colleagues conducted the cross-sectional survey in 2014, analyzing responses from 141 members of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. They used 46 questions to evaluate factors contributing to participants’ beliefs, and the amount of routine HIV screening they conducted.

The majority of participants were female, white and between the ages of 50-59. Most worked in primary care or at a community clinic.

Around 25% of respondents reported routine HIV screening, and had three main conditions associated with their work environments:

  • agreement that offering routine HIV screenings to all patients regardless of risk will benefit my patients
  • agreement that consent from parent/guardian should be obtained;
  • agreement with the 2013 Coverage Guide for HIV.

The research found that nurse practitioners with HIV screening behaviors reported few barriers. For those without HIV screening behaviors, seven belief items were statistically significant concerning barriers, including items related to agreement with “having confidence in HIV knowledge” and “difficulty in screening when accompanied by a guardian/spouse/third-party person,” they wrote.

SOURCE: Healio

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