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This continuing education course covers universal precautions for healthcare workers and implications for massage therapists. The learner will discover the history of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome, modes of transmission, prevention and confidentiality. Florida Law is also reviewed for those practicing in that state.

HIV/AIDS and Florida Law Course Outline (3 CEUs):
  • Chapter One: What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.i The virus eventually can lead to the development of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.ii There are two forms of HIV, HIV-1 (which is what most people mean when they say “HIV”) and HIV-2. Both forms of HIV “damage a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases.”iii Essentially, HIV attacks the immune system by invading these cells (white blood cells), replicating, and destroying the cells.

  • Chapter Two: Symptoms of HIV/AIDS

Most people who become infected with HIV will develop flu-like symptoms within two to six weeks after infection. This is known as “primary or acute HIV infection.” Some patients, however, will be asymptomatic during this time and will show no signs of infection. Both forms of infection are highly contagious during the primary infection due to a high viral load.iv The flu-like symptoms in the first two to six weeks after infection and the symptoms in the time are detailed in this chapter.

  • Chapter Three: History of HIV/AIDS

Scientists believe that HIV was first transmitted to humans from chimpanzees sometime between 1884 and 1924 in West Central Africa.v The transfer probably occurred when a hunter killed and ate the infected meat of a chimpanzee, of when blood from the infected chimpanzee crossed into the hunter through a More on this history will be explained in depth in this chapter.

  • Chapter Four: HIV/AIDS Transmission

HIV/AIDS is transmitted when infected blood (including menstrual flow), semen (including pre-ejaculation), vaginal fluid, or breast milk enters the body of an uninfected person. The most common methods of transmission are: unprotected sex with an infected person, sharing needles with an infected person, and from mother to infant.vii Other methods of transmission will be discussed in this chapter, along with common misconceptions of HIV and AIDS transmission.

  • Chapter Five: Infection Control

The spread of HIV/AIDS can be controlled through many different means. For example, in this chapter, behaviors that should be avoided, how to handle protection like latex gloves, and using sharp objects are important topics, among others, for the therapist to understand.

  • Chapter Six: Florida’s Requirements for AIDS Education

Florida state law requires “each district school board to provide courses and appropriate instruction in comprehensive health education that addresses family life, including the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard and the consequences of teenage pregnancy.”viii Florida state law requires that all massage therapy licensure applicants complete at least one hour of HIV/AIDS education in order to receive their initial license.ix

  • Chapter Seven: Florida Law and HIV/AIDS Testing

Florida law states: “no person shall perform an HIV test without first obtaining the informed consent of the test subject or his legal representative.”x If a health care provider tests a patient for HIV without informed consent outside of these legally acceptable exceptions, he or she is subject to loss of license (permanently or temporarily), fines, and civil suit.xi The fact that an HIV test has occurred, along with the results or any other related details, are under special confidentiality clauses of Florida law. All of this and more will be covered in this chapter.

  • Chapter Eight: HIV/AIDS Discrimination

Florida has several laws that prohibit people from discriminating against those with HIV/AIDS. In this section the laws prohibiting discrimination are covered in depth. For example, health care facilities cannot require HIV testing as a condition of admission or service.

  • Chapter Nine: Crimes Associated with HIV/AIDS

Florida has laws that govern certain behaviors of HIV infected persons, and the behaviors of certain healthcare workers. For example, failure to test blood or any other human tissue meant for transfusion or transplant, or violation of confidentiality requirements associated with testing, is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor.




i, “What is HIV/Aids?”


ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Basic Information About HIV and AIDS,”


iii Ibid


iv Mayo Clinic, “HIV/AIDS Symptoms,”


v WebMD, “AIDS Retrospective Slideshow: A Pictorial Timeline of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic,”


vi Ibid


vii Bucks County, Bucks County Health Department, “HIV/AIDS: Know the Facts,”


viii National Association of State Boards of Education, “Florida,” HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education


ix Florida Department of Health, “Massage Therapy Continuing Education,”


x Florida Department of Health, “Model Protocol For HIV Counseling and Testing for County Health Departments and Registered Testing Programs,”


xi Jack P. Hartog, Florida Department of Health, “Florida’s Omnibus Act: A Brief Legal Guide for Health Care Professionals,” (1999),


Continuing education units (CEUs) are provided via electronic download in PDF format. Review the course work at your own pace and then take the included test online. You can print your certificate immediately after passing each test! All coursework is NCBTMB approved (NCBTMB # 451897-12). NOTE: Each state has different requirements. Please be sure to check our state requirements page and contact your state to verify your requirements.