Article review: Impact of nursing intervention on improving HIV, hepatitis knowledge and mental health among homeless young adults (Nyamathi et al. 2013)

Emma S Jones and James Meek
Lecturers, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

The subject article [1] reports on the results from a pilot study considering the impact of two interventions on improving homeless young adults’ knowledge of HIV and hepatitis, and their mental health (n =156, n =100 at follow-up, respectively). It is an important area to explore, bearing in mind the risks of HIV, hepatitis and mental distress to the homeless population, particularly the young homeless [2].
Although this study was implemented in the US, it has considerable relevance for the UK as homeless young adults are a particularly difficult client group to reach [3], and services provided for young adults continue to need development [4]. It is therefore important that we consider ways of enhancing young adults’ knowledge around HIV and hepatitis, and improving their mental health and wellbeing.
The study of Nyamathi et al. found that the participants’ knowledge of HIV and hepatitis increased following the two culturally sensitive interventions: firstly, a ‘nurse-led HIV/AIDS and hepatitis health promotion programme’; and secondly, an ‘art messaging programme’, with the first showing more promise. The participants’ mental health also increased significantly, and yet, mental health is addressed minimally in this paper. It would have been useful for the impact of interventions on the participants’ mental health to be explored in more depth, considering the important implications of a person’s mental state on their engagement in programmes [5]. Read more. . .