Exam overview

The certification exam is taken on a computer and includes 250 multiple choice, objective questions. The test lasts four hours. The questions for the exam are written by individuals with expertise in HIV/AIDS nursing and review for construction, accuracy, and appropriateness by the HANCB. Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc. prepares the exam.

ACRN content overview

  • Epidemiology and Prevention - 10%
  • Pathophysiology - 15%
  • Clinical manifestations and Management - 35% 
  • Psychosocial Issues - 10% 
  • Specific Populations - 20% 
  • Ethical and legal issues - 5%  
  • Professional and Institutional Issues - 5% 

Click here for a detailed ACRN exam content outline.

AACRN content overview

  • Critical Judgment: Epidemiology and Prevention - 20%
  • Critical Judgment: Immunopathology/Pathophysiology - 10%
  • Clinical Judgment: Manifestations and Management - 60%
  • Caring Practices - 2%
  • Response to Diversity - 2%
  • Advocacy - 2%
  • Collaboration/Systems Thinking - 2%
  • Clinical Inquiry/Facilitator of Learning - 2%

Click here for a detailed AACRN exam content outline.


Below are some sample questions for the ACRN and AACRN exam. For more practice questions, consider purchasing a practice test.

ACRN sample questions

In the following questions, choose the one best answer.

1.  HIV transmission has been most often associated with which of the following?
     a.  Blood transfusions
     b.  Injection drug use
     c.  Perinatal transmission
     d.  Unprotected sexual activity 

2.  What is the most important nursing response for a client with a newly established AIDS diagnosis and vague thoughts about suicide?
     a.  Arrangement for constant observation
     b.  Referral for antidepressant medication
     c.  Further assessment for suicidal risk
     d.  Immediate referral to psychiatric clinician 

3.  A viral load of 7,500 copies indicates:
     a.  Viral suppression
     b.  Need for PCP prophylaxis
     c.  Progression of disease pathology
     d.  Presence of datable viral particles in the blood 

4.  Infants born to HIV-seropositive mothers are likely to:
     a.  Not become infected in utero
     b.  Remain HIV-seropositive
     c.  Develop AIDS within the first year of life
     d.  Become seronegative if they are not infected

 Answers to sample questions:  1. (d) 2. (c) 3. (d) 4. (d)

AACRN sample questions

In the following questions, choose the one best answer:

1.  Which of the following patients is most likely to transmit HIV through sexual intercourse?
     a.  An acutely infected person with a viral load above 100,000 copies/mL
     b.  An acutely infected person with a CD4 count below 50 and a history of syphilis
     c.  A chronically infected person with three viral mutations and a viral load of 10,000 copies/mL
     d.  A chronically infected person who is antiretroviral experienced with a viral load of 10,000 copies/mL 

2.  According to ACTG 076, which of the following is the recommended dosing schedule for zidovudine (Retrovir) to reduce vertical transmission of HIV?
     a.  Administer orally to infant for eighteen months?
     b.  Administer intravenously weekly during third trimester and during labor and delivery
     c.  Administer orally during the first trimester only
     d.  Administer orally during last two trimesters, intravenously during labor, and orally to infant for six weeks after birth

3.  When drug resistance occurs, the advance practice nurse should:
     a.  Assume client has not been adherent to present regimen
     b.  Increase the dosage of client’s protease inhibitor
     c.  Stop all medications for three weeks, then restart the same regimen
     d.  Switch the client to a new drug regimen.

4.  As people with advanced HIV disease prepare to die, it may be important to assist them in
     a.  Maintaining denial
     b.  Coping with unresolved issues
     c.  Ignoring effects of dementia and delirium
     d.  Avoiding decisions about quality of dying 

5.  If a patient on zidovudine (Retrovir) has a Hct of 22% and Hgb of 9.8 g/dL, which of the following is indicated?
     a.  Interferon
     b.  Vitamin B12
     c.  Parenteral iron
     d.  Recombinant erythropoietin 

Answers to sample questions:  1. (a) 2. (d) 3. (d) 4. (b) 5. (d)

Submit possible test questions

We encourage you to submit potential ACRN and AACRN test questions here.

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