German nursing students' knowledge of and attitudes to HIV and AIDS: Two decades after the first AIDS cases

Christa Lohrmann, Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki, Tarja Suominen, Ulla Muinonen, Theo Dassen, Ian Peate

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes German nursing students' (n = 180) knowledge and attitudes relating to HIV/AIDS, their homophobia level, willingness to care for people with AIDS, and their approach to possible sexual risk behaviours. A questionnaire was used to collect the data (response rate 97.8%). The results indicated that the nursing students had a rather high knowledge level concerning AIDS. However, there were gaps of knowledge, such as regarding AIDS immunopathology or the symptoms of the disease. Single nursing students and those having cared for a person with AIDS had a more thorough knowledge about the disease. In general, the attitudes towards AIDS and people with AIDS were tolerant and positive, and homophobia was only found with a small minority. Students having positive attitudes towards people with HIV/ AIDS had less homophobia compared to those having negative attitudes towards persons suffering from AIDS. Those with positive attitudes were more willing to care for patients with HIV/AIDS, while those with a high homophobia level were less willing to do so. In addition, students having a high AIDS knowledge level tended less towards negative attitudes and homophobia than those with a low level of knowledge. The implications of the research for nursing education will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-703
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Education
  • HIV
  • Homophobia
  • Knowledge
  • Nursing student
  • Sexual risk behaviour
  • Willingness to care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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