Background: While nursing care of HIV patients is tremendously stressful, little is known about nurses’ experiences of caring for patients with HIV/AIDS in Ardabil. Objective: The main aim of this study was to describe nurses’ experiences of caring for patients with HIV/AIDS in Ardabil, Iran. Method: In this study which was conducted using qualitative methods, the data were collected through 5 focus group discussion and in-depth interviews in with participants who were selected using purposive sampling method. 13 nurses who had the experience of contact with AIDS patients during 2016 in Ardabil, Iran were interviewed. Content analysis was used to analyze the data obtained from the interviews. Results: Data analysis generated 2 major themes, namely occupational exposure, and protective behavior, together with 11 sub-themes which include fear, disrespect and disregard towards the patient, blaming the patient, avoidance from caring, curiosity, limited communication, using safety principles, neutralization of care, encouragement of family and people to support, and religious beliefs. Conclusion: Nurses who participated in this study stated that they experienced intractable challenges, fear, and stress when facing HIV patients and used protective behavior to normalize their care.