HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse Certification Information

HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN) Certification

The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) and the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board (HANCB) endorse the concept of voluntary certification by examination for all nurses in HIV/AIDS nursing. Certification is one part of a process called credentialing. It focuses specifically on the individual and is an indication of current competence in a specialized area of practice. Board certification in HIV/AIDS nursing is highly valued and provides formal recognition of HIV/AIDS nursing knowledge.  

The purpose of certification is to promote comprehensive HIV/AIDS nursing care through the certification of qualified nurses by:

  1. Encouraging continued personal and professional growth in the practice of HIV/AIDS nursing;
  2. Establishing and measuring the level of knowledge required for certification in HIV/AIDS nursing;
  3. Providing a national standard of requisite knowledge for certification; thereby assisting the employer, public, and members of the health professions in the assessment of the HIV/AIDS nursing practice; and
  4. Recognizing formally through certification those individuals who meet the eligibility requirements and standards set by the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board.

ACRN Eligibility Requirements: The following requirements must be met before testing:

Attainment of Certification and Recertification: Eligible candidates who pass the Certification Examination in HIV/AIDS Nursing are eligible to use the registered designation ACRN after their name.  A registry of nurses certified in HIV/AIDS nursing will be maintained by the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board and may be reported in its or ANAC’s publications. Certification in HIV/AIDS nursing is recognized for a period of four years at which time the candidate must either retake and pass the current Certification Examination in HIV/AIDS Nursing or recertify by continuing education credits.

Fees:   All initial certification payments are payable to the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board.  The application fee for the ACRN exam is:

***For information about joining or rejoining ANAC, please click here

Examination Registration:   Candidates can complete the ACRN Exam online application or submit the downloadable application and payment to the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board, 11230 Cleveland Ave NW #986, Uniontown, OH 44685. Candidate must provide proof of current RN license with application.  Please email Lynda or call the HANCB National Office at 800-260-6780 to obtain an application by mail.

Schedule for Examination:  Once a candidate has completed the online application, the candidate's eligibility will be verified by the HANCB National Office (this process may take up to 7-10 business days).  After the candidate's application has been approved, the candidate will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to schedule their exam.  The first available testing date will be five (5) days from the date of the candidate's application approval.  The candidate will schedule their exam at any of the testing centers available through Iso-Quality Testing (IQT).  To locate a list of cities with a testing center, click here.    The candidate will have six (6) months from the date of the application approval to sit for the exam.  Please email Lynda or call the HANCB National Office at 800-260-6780 with any scheduling questions or issues.

Cancellation/Reschedule Policy:  There will be no refund of fees.  If a candidate chooses to cancel or reschedule a scheduled examination five (5) or more calendar days prior to the scheduled examination date, the candidate will pay a $25.00 rescheduling fee to IQT.  If a candidate reschedules or cancels a scheduled examination less than five (5) calendar days prior to the scheduled examination, the candidate will forfeit the full testing fee. Exceptions will be made for candidate medical emergency, death of an immediate family member or candidate active duty military orders only.  To reschedule an examination, please contact IQT directly at 727-738-8727

No Show/Improper ID Policy:  If the candidate fails to appear for a scheduled examination or comes to the testing center without proper ID and/or the proper admission letter and is unable to take the scheduled examination, the candidate will forfeit the full testing fee.  Please note that if the candidate does not show up at the scheduled examination time, they will be considered a "No-Show", the examination fees will be forfeited and the candidate will be required to re-register and pay all fees prior to sitting for the exam. 

Admission to Testing:   Upon the completion of scheduling, the candidate will receive a confirmation screen that will be their Receipt and Admission Document.  The candidate will be immediately prompted to print this document as entrance to the testing center will not be permitted without it and valid identification.   Identification that is considered to be valid are government issued driver's license, state identification card, passport or military ID.  If the candidate loses or misplaces the Admission Document, they may log back into their account and print this document as many times as they deem necessary.  Candidates are encouraged to arrive at the scheduled testing center at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time of the examination.   

 Rules for the Examination:

  1. No signaling devices, including cellular phones, pagers and alarms may be operative during the examination;
  2. No books or other reference materials may be taken into the examination room; and
  3. No test material, documents or memoranda of any sort are to be taken from the examination room. 

Report of Results:  Candidate will be presented with their results immediately after completing the exam.  Candidates should not leave the testing center until this has been provided by the Proctor.   Candidates who answer 175 of the 250 questions (70%) will have successfully earned their ACRN credentials and will receive a certificate from the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board.  Candidates who score 174 or less will be provided with a breakdown of scores by content category by HANCB.  Upon written request of a candidate, scores will be manually verified.  Failure of the examination is not a circumstance for appeal.  Test scores will be released in writing only to the individual candidate.

Reexamination:  If the candidate meets the eligibility requirements, the certification examination in HIV/AIDS nursing may be taken as often as desired upon filing of a new application and fee. There is no limit to the number of times the examination may be repeated.

Revocation of Certification: Reasons for certification revocation include, but are not limited to:

The HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board provides an appeal mechanism for challenging revocation of Board Certification. It is the responsibility of the individual to initiate the appeal process.

Content of the Examination:     

  1. The Certification Examination in HIV/AIDS Nursing is a computer-based examination composed of a maximum of 250 multiple-choice, objective questions with a total testing time of four (4) hours;
  2. The questions for the examination are obtained from individuals with expertise in HIV/AIDS nursing and are reviewed for construction, accuracy, and appropriateness by the HANCB;
  3. The HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board, with the advice and assistance of Schroeder Measurement Technologies, Inc., prepares the examination;
  4. The Certification Examination in HIV/AIDS Nursing will be weighted in approximately the following manner:

I. Epidemiology and Prevention - 10%
II. Pathophysiology - 15%

III. Clinical manifestations and Management - 35% 

IV. Psychosocial Issues - 10% 

V. Specific Populations - 20% 

VI. Ethical and legal issues - 5%  

VII. Professional and Institutional Issues - 5% 

For a detailed Content Outline, please click here

ACRN Suggested Study Resources

ACRN Sample Examination Questions

Reviewing the ACRN content outline and studying with other candidates taking the ACRN examination are recommended. 



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