PDA Understanding HIV and AIDS SCQF level 7

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA Understanding HIV and AIDS at SCQF level 7 will introduce learners to HIV and related illnesses and provide an international focus on the treatment of HIV.

This qualification is aimed at professionals (eg in health, social care, education, or criminal justice) who may provide services to those living with HIV. It is also suitable for people working in the HIV and sexual health sector who wish to update or improve their knowledge and/or obtain a qualification.

In addition, it can be offered to people who are training and wish to gain employment in the sexual health and HIV sector or people who wish to work in countries with a high prevalence of HIV. 

Learners will be introduced to the hierarchy of risks associated with this infection and investigate its treatment and management. They will come to understand how it affects the individual living with HIV in terms of their physical, emotional and mental well-being — including an understanding of the effects of the myths, stigma and discrimination associated with HIV infection.

The role of governments in providing current and accessible treatments for individuals living with HIV is also covered.

This qualification has been developed in partnership with Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland.

It is available through colleges, training providers and some employers. 

Why deliver this qualification

The PDA Understanding HIV and Aids at SCQF level 7 has developed in partnership with employers and industry.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff, while learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

It can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of workshops and self-directed study.

Who does this qualification suit

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Learners do not need to have formal relevant qualifications to enter this PDA. Good communication skills, both oral and written, are required. Current experience as a health/social care worker within a health/social care setting would be advantageous.


Centres require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Each unit is assessed separately.

Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice. 

Where can you take this course?

Qualification content and delivery tools

Information about the qualification(s)

Qualification Structure

Group award code: GL90 47 (16 SCQF credit points)


The PDA Understanding HIV and Aids at SCQF level 7 consists of two mandatory units

Group award specification (320 KB)

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