The principles underpinning nursing in this specialty sector have been translated into competency standards by the Australasian Sexual Health and HIV Nurses Association (ASHHNA).[5]Developed by referencing current national and international sexual health and HIV nursing competency standards, these standards account for differences in practice for both the registered nurse and advanced practice registered nurse and seek to clarify key areas under seven domains. The domains incorporate the Nursing and Midwifery Board's standards for the advanced practice registered nurse, now superseded.

The domains in the ASHHNA Competency Standards are:

  1. Effective communication
  2. Assessment, care planning and clinical management
  3. Health promotion and client education
  4. Research
  5. Legal and ethical nursing practice
  6. Collaborative care and partnerships
  7. Leadership and development of the specialty.[6]

The Competency Standards consider the differing roles among nurses within the sector from management to direct clinical care to research nursing, and are designed to guide best practice in the provision of these specialist clinical nursing services’ as well as provide guidance to nurses new to the sector.

The values that guided the development of the competency standards were born out of the turbulent medical, social and political history of HIV and the complexities that faced those affected. A hybrid model of care was identified by combining a social and medical model approach, one that acknowledges the social determinants of health while also addressing disease specific requirements. This model is grounded in the principles of primary health care and champions social justice by seeking to provide advocacy, health promotion and accessible, equitable and holistic health care for all.