Forty years of nursing science in HIV/AIDS: JANAC marks progress and challenges

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May 4, 2021 – From the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1981, nurses have been at the forefront of patient care, advocacy, and research. But even in the age of antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis, many challenges remain in reducing the impact of HIV and AIDS, according to the special May/June issue of The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC). The official journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, JANAC is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Assembling nine “state of the science” reviews invited from leading clinical scientists, the special issue of JANAC summarizes 40 years of nursing science throughout the HIV epidemic – highlighting “lessons learned and the way forward” in improving clinical care and quality of life for people living with HIV. “The HIV epidemic has been shaped, for the better, by dedicated nurses, nurse practitioners, and midwives who have provided direct care, questioned the status quo, advocated for patients’ rights, taught the next generation of HIV clinicians, and advanced the science,” according to an introduction by Editor-in-Chief Michael V. Relf, PhD, RN, AACRN, ANEF, FAAN and other members of the JANAC editorial team.

Nurse researchers lead the way in improving HIV prevention and patient care

Several of the special-issue papers focus on groups that face disproportionately high burdens of HIV disease. Schenita D. Randolph, PhD, MPH, RN, CNE, of Duke University School of Nursing and colleagues review the evidence on HIV prevention and treatment among cisgender women in the United States. In 2018, women accounted for 19 percent of new cases of HIV in the United States. The rate of new HIV cases is 14 times higher in Black women and three times higher in Latina women, compared to white women.

Dr. Randolph and colleagues discuss risk factors driving the HIV epidemic among US women, including interpersonal, community, and societal factors. They also provide an overview of evidence-based HIV risk reduction interventions, combining behavioral, biomedical, and structural strategies. However, to end the epidemic of HIV among women, a primary focus on prevention must incorporate the unique needs of women at risk for HIV.

“Nurses have a unique role in developing and carrying out HIV interventions….particularly the recognition that the root causes of HIV include both social and biomedical factors,” Dr. Randolph and colleagues write. They outline priorities and recommendations to make HIV interventions for women more sustainable, including efforts to engage women throughout the research process and incorporating technology approaches.

Carmen J. Portillo, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Yale University School of Nursing and colleagues present a review of HIV prevention approaches in Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities. In 2018, Black/African American people accounted for 37 percent of new HIV cases and Hispanic/Latinx people for 30 percent.

Structural racism and social inequities embedded in the economic, education, health care, and criminal justice systems are major contributors to the “overwhelmingly disparate” HIV-related health disparities in Black and Hispanic/Latinx populations. “[M]ulti-level interventions that address individual, structural, and social level components have demonstrated more sustainable outcomes,” according to the authors.

Nurse scientists can play a major role in addressing racism as “the fundamental reason for health disparities,” the researchers believe. Dr. Portillo and coauthors call for “updating antiquated curriculums in nursing, medicine, and public health that perpetuate racial, structural-level inequities and also increasing the pipeline for Black and Hispanic/Latinx persons to pursue research or clinical-focused doctorate degrees.”

Other papers in the special issue address vulnerabilities to HIV among adolescents and young adults and people with differences in sexual orientation or gender identity/expression; important problems of aging patients with HIV, including cognitive changes and comorbid chronic diseases; and other key issues along the continuum of care including medication adherence, HIV-related stigma, and the future of HIV prevention. Dr. Relf and colleagues conclude: “This body of work reflects an optimism that perhaps, in the next 40 years, we will be reviewing the key role that nursing played to help end the AIDS epidemic once and for all.”

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Click here to read “Applying a Nursing Perspective to Address the Challenges Experienced by Cisgender Women in the HIV Status Neutral Care Continuum.”
DOI: 10.1097/JNC.0000000000000243

Click here to read “A State of the Science on HIV Prevention Over 40 Years Among Black and Hispanic/Latinx Communities.”
DOI: 10.1097/JNC.0000000000000266

About JANAC

The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (JANAC) is a peer-reviewed, international nursing journal that covers the full spectrum of the global HIV epidemic, focusing on prevention, evidence-based care management, interprofessional clinical care, research, advocacy, policy, education, social determinants of health, epidemiology, and program development. JANAC functions according to the highest standards of ethical publishing practices and offers innovative publication options, including Open Access and prepublication article posting, where the journal can post articles before they are published with an issue.

About the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

Since 1987, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) has been the leading nursing organization responding to HIV/AIDS. The mission of ANAC is to foster the professional development of nurses and others involved in the delivery of health care for persons at risk for, living with, and/or affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and its co-morbidities. ANAC promotes the health, welfare and rights of people living with HIV around the world.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the clinicians, nurses, accountants, lawyers, and tax, finance, audit, risk, compliance, and regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with advanced technology and services.

Wolters Kluwer reported 2020 annual revenues of €4.6 billion. The group serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries, and employs approximately 19,200 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands.

Wolters Kluwer provides trusted clinical technology and evidence-based solutions that engage clinicians, patients, researchers and students in effective decision-making and outcomes across healthcare. We support clinical effectiveness, learning and research, clinical surveillance and compliance, as well as data solutions. For more information about our solutions, visit https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/health and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @WKHealth.

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