Increasing HIV awareness for young people through a creative and student-led assessment strategy

Jade Johnson
Student Nurse, University of Central Lancashire

According to the World Health Organization [1], human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a prevalent public health issue contributing to 34 million deaths to date. WHO also note that 34% of all newly diagnosed global HIV infections are attributed to 15–24 year olds, demonstrating the growing number of young people affected by HIV. It is recognised that health promotion for this age group holds complex barriers, largely arising from hesitancy to confront sexual issues [2]. During this period of exploration, the choices and lifestyle attitudes developed by young adults often carry repercussions felt later in life. It is, therefore, important that practitioners working with young adults think carefully about their approach to health education when planning preventative strategies [3]. The traditional generic pamphlets often used as health promotion materials seldom have the desired effect, and with the younger generation increasingly harder to reach, the need for fresh, imaginative promotion ideas has never been greater [4]. Being a second-year nursing student, and having the advantage of being a young person myself, when I was given the opportunity on the second-year public health module to study and present HIV through a patient case study in the form of a storyboard, I knew I wanted to develop a resource to educate young people. It is one thing to tell a story using facts and statistics; it is another to do it in a way that opens up a dialogue of thought within an intended group of people.