HIV Specialist™ (AAHIVS) – physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners working in direct clinical care


Eligible candidates must agree to the Terms and Conditions and meet the following requirements for Licensure, Experience, and Education at the time of application:


Maintain a current, valid MD, DO, PA, or NP license.


Provide direct HIV care to at least 25 persons living with HIV within the 36 months preceding the date of application.


Participate in the Academy Mentoring Program, either currently or within the previous 36 months.  Visit the Academy Mentoring Program web page for more information about participation.

Candidates who are not in clinical practice are encouraged to apply for the HIV Expert™ Credential.


Complete a minimum of 45 credits or activity hours of HIV and/or HCV-related continuing education within the 36 months preceding the date of application.  Continuing education can be earned in any of the following ways:

  • AMA Accredited Category 1 CME
  • ANCC Accredited CNE
  • College-level coursework (A transcript showing a passing grade must be submitted.)
  • Teaching/lecturing (1 hour of in-class instruction is equivalent to 1 hour of CE.)
  • Participation in an HIV-related residency, HIV-related fellowship program, or the MATEC Clinical Scholars Program (A letter from the residency or fellowship director confirming participation and completion of HIV/HCV related didactic instruction must be submitted.  MATEC Scholars may submit a program transcript.)

CE Submission Guidelines

At minimum, a list of all completed CME activities must be submitted at the time of application.  Course completion documents or transcripts may be submitted but are required only if the application is audited.  They can be uploaded to the candidate’s account to aid in application review.

To be considered HIV or HCV-related, the CME program must be specifically tailored towards treating persons living with HIV or HCV.  Programs devoted solely to comorbidities or other infectious diseases are generally not considered.


Credentialing fees apply to ALL applicants, including new, renewing and expired/recertifying practitioners.  The fees apply to both Academy Members and non-members.

The Academy accepts Visa, MasterCard, and Amex.  Credit card payments are automatically processed when applying online.


An emailed payment receipt will be provided for online payments.

Applications received after Early Registration closes for the August/September testing period will be assessed a $25 late surcharge.  The fee will be included in the final price during registration.

Applications for the November/December testing period are not subject to this surcharge.

The fee is refundable if an applicant is determined to be ineligible for the exam or if they withdraw from taking the exam before the start of the testing period.  The fee is not refundable if an applicant is approved to take the exam but does not pass on one or two attempts, or fails to “submit” an exam once exam access is provided.

  • Academy Member Online Format

  • Non Academy Member Online Format

  • Academy Member Paper Format

  • Non Academy Member Paper Format



Exam Content

The content evaluated on the HIV Specialist™ Credentialing Exam is organized by Domain and Task statements.  More details can be found in the HIV Specialist™ Credentialing Exam Content Outline.

Results Processing

Exam results are processed as a group in one scoring session, approximately 4 weeks after each exam completion deadline.  Examinees are notified of their result via email sent directly from the Academy. To ensure confidentiality, exam results will not be released via telephone or fax by either the Academy or the testing vendor.  Early submission of completed exam materials has no bearing on the result notification schedule.  Candidates who pass the exam receive a three-year Academy credential, valid starting January 1 of the year following testing activity.

Credentialed providers receive:

  • A frameable certificate
  • A complimentary lapel pin is available upon request (not available for AAHIVE)
  • Authorization for use of AAHIVS, AAHIVE or AAHIVP professional titling
  • Authorization for use of AAHIVS, AAHIVE or AAHIVP logos, per Academy standards
  • Credentialed status listing on the “Referral Link” care resource directory

The Academy allows for one complimentary retake of the HIV Credentialing Exam if there is another testing period available during the same calendar year.  Candidates who do not earn a passing score during the August/September testing period will be automatically re-registered, without charge, for the November/December testing period.

Candidates who only take the exam during the November/December testing period are not eligible for a complementary retake.

Note that there is never a public record of any unsuccessful attempt or non-passing result on any Academy Credentialing Exam, and there is no refund of fees for candidates who do not achieve a passing score.

Result Interpretation

The Academy’s Credentialing Exams are designed as pass/fail instruments.  Exams of this type are crafted to measure a minimum standard of knowledge, and are not designed to defensibly differentiate the meaning between varying passing scores that exceed the standard.  In compliance with certification examining practices, candidates who successfully complete the exam will only receive a “pass” status.  This allows for all examinees to be assessed on a level playing field when taking different forms of the exam.  This practice also emphasizes learning and prevents misuse of scores; for example, in the workplace, higher scores do not necessarily equate to better employee performance.  Candidates who do not pass the exam will be advised on the score report of the passing standard, and their actual numerical score.

Passing Standard Determination

In accordance with testing industry and published psychometric standards, the Academy employs a highly defensible passing score determination process for each testing cycle.  The passing standard is determined using a criterion-referenced method, which allows for the performance of each candidate taking the exam to be judged against a predetermined standard, rather than against other candidates.  The pass point varies for each examination cycle, based on a detailed statistical analysis of aggregated exam item performance data, and an “equating” process which corrects for slight variances in the statistical “difficulty” of periodically revised exam forms.  Statistically or anecdotally defective content is also identified at this step and removed from scoring.  The Academy’s contract psychometrician then provides a defensible cut score (passing standard) range for the exam, and the Credentialing Committee reviews the proceedings and determines an exact passing standard (or number of items needed correct for a passing result) from within the defensible range.  The passing standard of the exam in any given year does not actually represent a percentage of passing candidates, nor the passing percentage of the exam.  This is due in part to the fact that each exam form contains a number of non-scored “experimental” items which are gaining statistical field history for scored use on future exams.  These items neither add to nor detract from an examinee’s score.  This is typical practice for statistical validation of future certification exam content.  Experimental items (and how many there are) are not revealed to the examinee.  Official scoring commences for all submitted online or written exam materials once the pass point is set.

Scoring Errors

Scoring of all Academy Credential Exams is conducted electronically or via optical scanning in a highly secure environment by a third party testing vendor.  Scoring errors are extraordinarily rare.   If, however, a mechanical or administrative scoring error is suspected, examinees may request Hand Scoring Verification.  The cost for this service is not included in registration fee.

To request Hand Scoring Verification, please complete the form here.


The Academy’s measurement programs adhere to a “knowledge management” approach to testing, mirroring problem solving activities that would occur in the actual treatment of patients.  Academy testing instruments are designed with this approach in mind; that skilled providers of all kinds often need to access technical resources when solving complex clinical situations.

Accordingly, examinees may use any printed or online resource available to prepare for and complete the exam, but examinees must certify that they have completed their exam independently.  Violations of this policy can result in punitive actions, up to and including the revocation of an active or new credential, and/or permanent exclusion from the program.