OBJECTIVES: to describe and analyze the centrality, the mute zone and the attitudes expressed in nurses' social representations of people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus. METHOD: the subjects were 30 nurses from a university hospital in Rio de Janeiro. The data was collected using a Likert scale. RESULTS: the data pointed to a process of representational change regarding Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, with the assumption of a more positive attitude regarding living with this health issue. The hypothesis of the existence of a mute zone in the representation, comprising elements with a contranormative character, was strengthened. CONCLUSION: the influence of the dynamics of social normativity on how the social representations studied are expressed may contribute to a better understanding of its structuring process. It also helps in the analysis of possible gaps among the nurses' discourses and practices in relation to Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Professional Practice; Attitude of Health Personnel; Nursing; Social Psychology