Activity 7-1: Dealing with AIDS
Summary In this activity students role-play people in various situations who are trying to deal with the AIDS epidemic.
✓ identify what AIDS is and the problems our society faces in finding solutions.
✓ consider how AIDS affects the human spirit.
- Activity Report, one per group (4 groups)
- Photographs of AIDS victims in various stages (Optional)
Make one copy of the Activity Report per group.
Arrange the groups so that each group has a strong facilitator, some serious students, and some creative thinkers. This can be a frustrating activity because there are no easy solutions.
You are the best judge regarding the pictures of AIDS victims. Most adolescents have not seen the ravaging effects of this disease and may not be able to relate to either the disease or its victims. Pictures might help. They are often a greater deterrent to teenagers than talk of death, which seems impossible or at least improbable to them.
Estimated Time 40 minutes
Language Arts Have students find and read literature written by the victims of AIDS so this disease becomes real to them. This is not about statistics. It is about humans and human life.
- Have students read the book And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts. Even if they only read selected chapters, they will be better informed. Students can share the information by making visual or oral presentations to the class.
Social Studies Invite a person suffering from AIDS or HIV to speak to the classes and explain what it is like to have to fight both the disease and the shunning they must endure from some elements of society and in some cases from members of their own families.
- Have students watch the movie And the Band Played On about the politics and the people involved in this epidemic.
- Have students research the “Black Death” epidemics and compare the reactions of the governments and of the people then to their reactions now. They should especially research the treatment the victims received from their fellow humans.
Prerequisites and Background Information
An understanding of what AIDS is, who it affects, how it is spread, and how it is currently treated.
Introduce Activity 7-1 by talking about how many people are involved in finding a cure for AIDS and in trying to solve the associated problems for the individuals affected and society in general. Read the introduction to the activity in their text.
Step 1 Divide the class into four groups. Assign each group a number from one to four to coincide with the Activity Report.
Steps 2-4 Circulate among the groups to give advice and offer additional questions they might consider as they discuss their position. Each group will report their conclusions to the class and give their rationale.
Conclude Activity 7-1 by asking students to identify the three most important things that they think should be done in the fight against AIDS.
Use the role-play and class discussions to assess if students can
✓ define what AIDS is.
✓ explain the enormity of the problem.
✓ explain the frustration of finding solutions.
✓ identify the current treatment practices.
✓ explain the effect on the human spirit of having AIDS.
A good family friend has just learned she has the AIDS virus, but is not yet showing any symptoms. Your parents have invited her over for Thanksgiving. What are your thoughts and concerns? What questions do you have about her visit? About getting AIDS from her? Will it affect your relationship with her? How do you think she will want to have you deal with the fact that she has AIDS?
- Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to email@example.com to request sample answers.
- What is the difference between AIDS and HIV?
- How can a person get AIDS? Give some examples.
- How does a person NOT get AIDS?
- Respond to the following statements with either true or false:
- Heterosexuals are not at risk for AIDS.
- AIDS is not caused by being a drug addict, gay, or engaging in anal intercourse.
- Teenagers aren't at risk for AIDS.
- How can you protect yourself from the AIDS virus?
Activity 7-1 Report: Dealing With AIDS (Student Reproducible)
You are to role-play the characters assigned to your group. Respond to the situation from their viewpoints. Your conclusions will be shared with the class.
You are medical doctors, scientists, and health workers. Your task is to look for a cure for AIDS, but meanwhile you have to help the sick as best you can.
- What do you need to find a cure?
- What must you do to get what you need?
- What treatment will be used to care for the sick?
- What must you do to get the medical equipment, supplies, and medicine you need?
You are a group of educators, schoolteachers, authors, and producers of TV shows. Your task is to educate the public about what AIDS is and how to avoid it.
- How will you organize so that all of you can work together?
- What will be done in the schools? What will be done in the communities?.
- How will you use the mass media?
You are a group of government officials. Some of you must keep track of how AIDS is spreading. Others must worry about the cost of treatment, and still others must consider the use of new drugs that researchers claim may cure AIDS.
- If you have authority to test people for AIDS, who will you test?
- What will you do with those people who test positive? (They can infect others.)
- Who pays for AIDS patients who have no medical insurance?
- When will you allow new medications to be tried on people?
You are a group of people who are HIV positive.
- How do you deal with people who shun you?
- How do you explain your problems to people who don't understand?
- What can you do if you can't afford medical care?