The World Starts With Me

Protect Yourself: STIs and HIV/AIDS

Learning Objectives

This lesson is all about risk and choice. Sex can and should be a wonderful part of life, but it is not without risks. The aim of this lesson is to help students be aware of the real and present dangers of unsafe sex because of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.

The lesson starts with a presentation explaining the risks involved in unsafe sex and how to deal with them, including an activity that helps students to choose their own personal path. The presentation acknowledges abstinence as the safest method to prevent STIs and HIV/AIDS. However, given the large percentage of young people who are sexually active, the advantages of correct and consistent use of condoms are also explained. After the presentation, students can play the Safe Sex Quiz to test their knowledge.

Other activities in the lesson are a discussion about STIs and HIV/AIDS and role plays to practice requisite negotiation skills.



  • Students appreciate sex as a gift and decide how to practice it safely
  • Students are aware of some of the severe risks of having unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Students learn how to use a condom correctly


Learning Objectives

Students can:


  • describe what the abbreviation STI stands for, explain what an STI is, mention the three most important STIs
    (syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, chancroid) and are aware that these are curable
  • list three signs or symptoms of an STI and explain that it is possible to have an STI without having symptoms and explain that, on the outside, it is impossible to tell whether someone has an STI or HIV
  • list three ways in which STIs, including HIV, can be transmitted and explain how STIs are not transmitted
  • explain that an STI - excepting HIV/AIDS - can be cured if it is detected in time
  • list two reasons why it is easier for girls to be infected with STIs than for boys
  • list three consequences of catching an STI and explain that they have to go to a health clinic or VCT centre
    in time to be tested for STIs or HIV and get treatment for an STI and that they must tell their sexual partners
  • explain that HIV is a sexually transmitted infection and that HIV causes AIDS
  • explain that AIDS causes the body's immune system to malfunction
  • explain that STIs can increase the likelihood of HIV entering the body
  • explain what ABC means and explain that abstinence from sexual intercourse means not having penetrative (vaginal or anal) sex
  • explain that faithfulness to a partner can only protect you against STIs and HIV if both partners are 100% faithful and can prove that their previous partners were not infected
  • describe that, every time they have sexual intercourse, they have to use a condom from start to finish of the sexual act
  • explain that a condom can be used only once, has to be stored in a cool, dark and dry place, that a condom should not be used after the expiry date and that a condom should not be used if either the condom or the package is torn or damaged
  • bust/break myths about not using condoms and provide counterarguments for disadvantages
  • mention the name of one person they would talk to if they had an STI or suspected they might have HIV/AIDS
  • describe what happens in a health clinic if they went for STI or HIV testing and name one place where they can go for STI testing
  • list two places where they can obtain condoms
  • explain that sexual partners have to talk 'at the right time' (not in a romantic setting or when sexually aroused) about condom use or sexuality and that it is important to give a clear message to their sexual partner about what they do or do not want


  • show they are convinced of the necessity of having safe sex and the efficacy of abstinence, monogamy or condom use to prevent STIs, including HIV/AIDS
  • show they are aware of the right to their own decision-making and respect the decisions of their sexual partner as equals
  • show a positive attitude towards condoms and show they are convinced that the disadvantages of using a condom do not outweigh the disadvantages of getting infected with an STI or HIV
  • see using condoms as a sign of trust, respect and care
  • show they are convinced of the need to communicate what they want in sex with a partner
  • show they are aware of the right to confidential health services, have a positive attitude towards health centres and subscribe to the need for in-time testing and treatment in case of risk behaviour or symptoms
  • show they are convinced that they have to test for STIs and HIV when they are starting a new sexual relationship


  • choose their own method to prevent STIs/HIV
  • provide a scenario for buying, carrying and storing a condom
  • explain in four steps how to put on and remove a condom correctly
  • give instruction how to negotiate with a sexual partner on abstaining from sex or on only having sexual intercourse with a condom
  • express confidently that they are able to negotiate and take their own decision and stick to their decision, regardless of what their sexual partner will say
  • provide a scenario for communicating and standing up for their rights in dealing with health service providers

Computer, design and creative skills

  • do the Safe Sex Quiz
  • demonstrate how to use the mouse



Lesson Outline


1. Warming Up - Bodyguards and Secret Agents (5 mins)
2. Protect yourself! - Presentation (35 mins)
3. Safe Sex Quiz (15 mins)
4. Discussion and Negotiation skills role play (35 mins)
5. Conclusion and homework (5 mins)


Ask a few students to tell something about their reflection activities from the previous lesson.

Warming Up

Bodyguards and Secret Agents (5 mins)


  • Students get active to start off the lesson with energy.


All students stand in a circle; they need some space to play. Tell the students that there is someone in the group who is out to get them - a 'secret agent' - and there is also someone in the group who is their 'bodyguard'.

All students have to pick a person for themselves, without pointing or telling anyone, who is their 'secret agent' for this game. After everyone has made a selection, all students should select another individual, again quietly and without pointing or telling anyone, who will be their 'bodyguard' during this game.

After everyone has made their selections, tell the students that they are now free to move around. However, all students have to try and keep their 'bodyguards' between themselves and their 'secret agents' at all times. This can get pretty funny and chaotic as people are moving about trying to keep themselves protected from the secret agents.

Stop the game when you feel it is over.


Protect yourself! from STIs and HIV/AIDS - Presentation (35 mins)


  • Students get to know facts about the risks of STIs and HIV/AIDS
  • Students reflect on the issues and on their options and then make their own choices on how best to protect themselves


Tell the students that this presentation is about STIs, including HIV/AIDS, and safe sex. Lesson 10 will go more deeply into the issue of HIV/AIDS and living with HIV/AIDS. The students read the presentation. Some discussion points included in the presentation should be addressed by the students before they continue with the next slides. At the end of the presentation, the students are given an individual exercise to be done on paper.

The presentation covers the following topics:

  • what are STIs?
  • how do you know if you have an STI?
  • what must you do if you have an STI?
  • cure for STIs
  • how to avoid STIs
  • getting tested for HIV/AIDS
  • condom use and myths about condoms
    The presentation underscores responsible behaviour for both boys and girls.


Test your knowledge - Safe Sex Quiz
(15 mins)


  • Students reflect on what they know, what they have learned from the presentation and what they think about some issues


Students have learned some facts about STIs and HIV/AIDS. In this quiz, they can test their knowledge. The quiz consists of questions that test what they have learned at a factual level but also includes questions about their attitude towards certain topics and dilemmas. At the end, they get a score and the correct answers are explained


Discussion and Negotiation skills (35 mins)


  • Students share what they have learned from the presentation and Safe Sex Quiz and what they think about some of the issues


Lead the discussion with questions such as:

1. do you think we need to talk about safe sex in school? Why or why not?
2. if you had an STI, who would you talk to?
3. are there any other myths or questions you are wondering about?
4. where can we get more information on these topics?



Negotiation skills


  • Students are supported in putting their chosen path into practice
  • Students are able to negotiate


Step 1

Use the Negotiation skills to do the role play in the tools section.
1. Timing - Choose your time well
2. Give a clear message
3. Be Firm
4. Stick to your decision

Step 2

Divide students into pairs. Each pair practices the negotiation skills in a brief role play, using all guidelines. For each pair, the story is the same: a boy and girl are on a date. One of them wishes to have unsafe sex with the other. But the other does not want to have sex at all or only wants to have safe sex. Each pair decides on the exact story. The story itself has little importance; it is more important that each student gets to practice the negotiation skills. The students can all be in the same room, playing at the same time.

Step 3

Then all pairs have completed their role play, ask a few students to demonstrate the negotiation skills in front of the class. Lead the class discussion: how did it go? What have they learned? Will they put this into practice? What difficulties do they think will arise?



This optional activity may be very sensitive, but taking into account the high numbers of young people getting infected with HIV/AIDS, acquiring skills in using a condom can be life-saving. It is recommended to discuss with school staff in advance whether you will do this optional activity.

As some students may already be sexually active, give students the option of a condom use demonstration. Use a banana or other suitable object and follow the instructions in the presentation: * opening the package, * placing the condom on the top of the penis, * rolling the condom down, keeping the tip of the condom vacuum, * withdraw with an erected penis and * dispose the condom out of the reach of any person.

Depending on the group, you may decide to invite a male student to do this demonstration. If you have more condoms available, you may let the boys exercise in class using their neighbour's fingers. In addition, discuss how students can overcome embarrassment in buying condoms and how they should carry and store condoms. Please stress that having a condom available and using a condom is the responsibility of both partners.


To end this lesson in a fun way, students can play the STI Invader Game.


Conclusion and homework (5 mins)

To conclude this session, remind students of the importance of what they have learned today: sex can and should be a wonderful part of life when both partners are ready for it, but it comes with a big responsibility to both partners.


Give students a handout with tips for talking about condom use and ways of talking to a partner (Negotiation Skills Guidelines).


Ask students to jot down in their book - each day for an entire week - something they did that day that would be hampered if they had an STI or HIV. In addition, ask them to inventory challenges in obtaining a condom and how to overcome these challenges.


Tools, Games & Materials

Protect yourself! - Presentation

Do the Safe Sex Quiz

Play the STI Invader Game (

Negotiation skills guidelines

When you want to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about delaying or abstaining from sexual intercourse, engaging in an alternative sexual activity or using condoms or contraceptives, keep the following points in mind:

1. Timing: choose your time well

Have your talk at a moment when you are not in the middle of a romantic or sexual situation. It is difficult to talk about your decision and your feelings in the heat of the moment. For example, while you are taking a walk or having lunch together might be a good time. If you do happen to be in the heat of the moment, stick to the following guidelines.

2. Give a clear message

Keep your message clear and to the point. For example, you might say, 'I have decided not to have sex because I don't feel ready or I don't want to risk getting an STI or getting pregnant.' Or you could say, 'I would like to have sex with you, but I won't unless we use protection.' Use clear non-verbal language: look serious and do not smile to please the other person.

If your partner resists or pressurizes you, it often works to repeat the message and give further explanation. For example, you might say, 'I decided not to have sex yet because I like to concentrate on my studies and sex distracts me' or 'I like to wait till I feel that our relationship is strong enough for having sex.'

If your partner still resists or pressurizes you, tell your partner how you feel. For example, you might say, 'I feel like you do not hear what I'm saying', 'You're not listening to me and all you're thinking about is your own desires' or 'Because you're not listening to me, I'm not sure if you really love me.'

3. Be Firm

Once you've made the decision that is right for you, be firm about it - and remember: there is no need to feel guilty. This can be difficult because we often want to please the people we care about, but being firm is not the same as being rude or mean.

4. Stick to your decision

Following through on your decision will be an ongoing process. If you are in a romantic relationship, the decision about sex and protection will come up many times. If your decision has been 'no sex', you will need to back up your commitment in spite of your own sexual feelings or pressure from your partner. If you choose to use condoms, you will always need to have a supply on hand and use them each and every time you have sex.



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