30 April 2015 Volume :3 Issue :22

Nursing Students Showcase importance of HIV testing among Mental Health Care Users

Nursing Students Showcase importance of HIV testing among Mental Health Care Users
Fourth year UKZN Nursing students on set.

A group of six Psychiatric nursing students - supported by Discipline of Nursing head Professor Gugu Mchunu and Lecturer Mrs Ann Jarvis - have produced a short HIV awareness film aimed at people in mental health care.

The production of the film is a community engagement project fourth year students are required to do as part of their curriculum. 

The students - Ms Megan Dey-van Heerden, Ms Pauline Kapena, Ms Claudia Botha, Ms Yashmika Tika, Ms Zanoxolo Buthelezi and Ms Lindelwa Zungu - and their Lecturer have worked closely with the Producer, Script writers, professional Actors and other members of the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance production team, who agreed to produce the film free of charge.

As part of their project, the students identified that HIV testing rates in mental health care clinics were low. ‘During our literature review, we identified a high prevalence of HIV among mental health care users. The risk factors varied,’ said Kapena. 

Botha said: ‘We believe that the early detection of HIV will help with early intervention and management of the disease.  For those who test negative, counselling will help them protect themselves and their partners from contracting HIV. This will help stop the epidemic from spreading.’

The students plan to showcase their completed production to the Psychiatry department at King Dinizulu Hospital on 10 May.

The students hope to share their educational film with other hospitals and also with the Department of Health to spread their message that HIV testing is essential.

Nombuso Dlamini

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