3 masterplans to cover HIV/AIDS education in your lessons.

One of my roles is as a HIV/AIDS education adviser for two London boroughs.  We have been running a very successful education project for the last three years (&have funding for the next 2- yay!) .  We train teachers in delivering HIV/AIDS education. We provide them with lots of resources to help deliver HIV/AIDS education, and get them to deliver sessions to their classes (which also can be supported by us) which are then evaluated by the students and teachers and then I get to write a big report and they get money towards more HIV/AIDS education resources.  It’s a lot of fun!

Anyhow today a report came out on HIV education in schools -(see here) from the lovely Sex Education Forum.  Please read it.  It’s a bit scary- 1 in 4 students who responded are getting no education on HIV or AIDS despite it BEING THE LAW.  (which worries me somewhat for if SRE were made statutory but that’s a whole other rant).

Anyhow I decided to blog 3 masterplans to deliver HIV/AIDS education in your lessons.  They aren’t the ONLY way or the best way, and I have a hundred other ways but that blog post would be more of a book and so I am just going to post a few quick ones to get you “time short” teachers on the ball. Please do contact me if you want any further help or ideas. sexedukation at gmail.com

Masterplan #1- use the fab resources already out there for FREE!

I really like this teaching pack from National AIDS trust.  Its got everything you need to get started.  (I also reccomend these NCB resources this for background reading and this for more detailed lesson plans).    Also I am a little bit in love with the Mr HIV videos on YouTube.   They are totally AWESOME and kids love em (obviously watch them in full to assess suitability for your class).  There are lots more but those are some of my fave starting points.

Masterplan #2- Make it fun by having an STI transmission demonstration  – this one I developed- if you share it please credit source. There are other ways of doing this practical- shout if you want alternates… but this one was developed as being the safest for non-science teachers, with the most effective visual result- (eg. ones using milk and starch/iodine because milk is “semen coloured” give a confusing colour change as in all cases the milk changes colour but only some go blue black and some go brown so its hard to tell who was infected.)

Plastic cups
Bottle of water (tap is fine but distilled if possible)
0.5M citric acid solution (easily made up from the powder- 105g in 1 litre of water is 0.5Molar but beware the solution goes off so 10.5g in 100ml water or 21g in 200ml water etc. will produce the same strength without wasting the solution- I often approximate to a small teaspoonful of powder dissolved in one of the cups will give necessary strength solution)
Blue Litmus paper

1)    Give each student a clear plastic cup full of liquid and a plastic pipette (DO NOT LET STUDENTS DRINK IT!).  Each cup needs to be filled with 50mls of water except for one which is to be filled with citric acid solution (the infection- it is a good idea to give the “infected cup” to a gregarious class member so the “infection” is more likely to spread!).   Tell students that they don’t know what this liquid is so they should treat the liquid as possibly dangerous- it should not touch skin, eyes, clothes etc.  (Citric acid is relatively mild but is an eye irritant so you may want to borrow safety goggles if you can’t trust the class to follow the rules. See Hazcard on Citric acid for more information).

2)  Students to mimic spread of disease by mixing the contents of their cups (containing either water or one with citric acid the “infected one”) using pipettes. They can choose to not to mix with anyone, they can choose to only mix with one other person, or lots of people up to a maximum of 10 people. For smaller groups you can issue character cards with a scenario on it to guide a range of different behaviours and discuss the outcomes. Reinforce that students must ask permission before they “mix cups” with anyone and that anyone who doesn’t is guilty of “an assault” and will be removed from the activity.  Also be aware this session has been known to bring up homophobic issues- ie. same genders mixing their cups,  although in most cases students are happy to mix cups with either gender.  Deal with any homophobic incidents according to school policy and reinforce your ground rules at start of the session.

3)    At the end of the task the teacher is to test each cup for “infection” with blue litmus paper.  If a student has been infected with an “STI” the indicator paper will turn pink.

4)    Discuss conclusions from the experiment and discuss possible different scenarios eg. “not having sex, only having sex with one partner, having sex with multiple partners, wearing a condom (“condom” can be demonstrated with the finger of a rubber glove!”)

N.B It is a very good idea to practice this before you do it with the class and make sure everything works – it is a disaster if it doesn’t work in front of the class!

Masterplan #3- Let your students take the lead!

You don’t have to be an expert on HIV to teach and learn about HIV.  Lessons on HIV don’t have to require hours of onerous preparation.   Set a research project, get kids to develop awareness campaigns (adverts, posters etc), fundraising campaigns, write poems, raps, ask students how and what they want to learn about HIV and go with it.  Its a LOT of fun doing it this way trust me, and students are absolutely fascinated by the topic and will produce some fantastic stuff!


Happy Educating.


1 thought on “3 masterplans to cover HIV/AIDS education in your lessons.

  1. Pingback: Some resources to support teaching about HIV/AIDS for World AIDS Day 2011 | sexedukation

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