HIV and Rehabilitation Training Needs of Health Professionals in Canada: Results of a National Survey

Catherine Anne Worthington, Kelly O'Brien, Ted Myers, Stephanie Nixon, Rhonda Cockerill


Background: People with HIV experience a range of health-related challenges that rehabilitation services are well-positioned to address. The purpose of this study was to explore professional knowledge and views about HIV rehabilitation among HIV specialists and rehabilitation professionals in Canada.

Methods and Findings: We conducted a nationwide cross-sectional postal survey with a random sample of rehabilitation professionals (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and physiatrists) (N = 1058) and the known population of HIV specialists (physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, and dietitians) in Canada (N = 214). Two-thirds (67%) of rehabilitation professionals disagreed that rehabilitation professionals possess adequate knowledge and skills to assess and treat people living with HIV. The majority of all respondent groups felt that rehabilitation professionals who work with people living with HIV require specialized HIV training. Approximately one-third (32%) of rehabilitation professionals who had served people living with HIV stated they received some HIV training as part of their professional degree.

Conclusions: This was the first national survey to explore HIV specialist and rehabilitation professionals’ knowledge and views about HIV rehabilitation. Findings indicate the need for interprofessional education, training, and mentorship of health professionals to address the gap between the needs of people living with HIV and rehabilitation services provision.


HIV/AIDS; Rehabilitation; Survey; Interprofessional education

Full Text: