Teaching Tool - Sexually Transmitted Infections

This presentation teaches students about the risks of sexual activity, approaches for preventing sexually transmitted infections, and how easily sexually transmitted infections can spread.

Target audience: students in Grades 8
Length of core content presentation: 45 minutes

Criteria Met

Grade Ontario Curriculum Codes
8 Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (2019) D2.3

Goals

In delivering this presentation, the teacher will:

  • Create an environment in which students feel comfortable discussing sexual health including sexually transmitted infections
  • Encourage students to consider the risks of sexual activity, including sexually transmitted infections
  • Provide opportunities for students to think critically about decision-making relating to sexual activity to promote sexual health

Objectives

By the end of this presentation, students will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the risks of sexual activity, including the ease with which sexually transmitted infections are spread
  • Identify various sexually transmitted infections, including their symptoms, effects, and treatments
  • Demonstrate knowledge of various practices and strategies for preventing sexually transmitted infections
  • Demonstrate the ability to reason critically in making decisions about sexual health

Core Knowledge Content

Core knowledge content provides the teacher with the background information needed to prepare and teach this health class.

Learning Activities

  • Don't pass it on (essential)
    Time: 45 minutes

    Materials

    Prepare Ahead

    Note: The PowerPoint presentation consists mostly of the Don't pass it on activity. This activity is meant to simulate the ease with which people may become exposed to sexually transmitted infections. It's possible to deliver the presentation as a class/small group discussion (see Variations).

    • Write each of the codes (Don't pass it on activity table) at the top of a separate slip of paper leaving enough space for students to write six names
    • There should be one slip for each student. Following the table will provide enough slips for a class of 30 students. If your class has more or less than 30 students, add or remove the required number of cards, preferably ensuring that the cards added or removed are half positive (e.g. "abstain") and half negative (e.g. "shared a needle").

    Instructions

    Stage 1 - Introduction of Activity

    • Cue the PowerPoint presentation
    • Going through the first three slides, review the definition and some examples of sexually transmitted infections
    • Cue the Don't pass it on title slide
    • Inform the students that they will be learning about sexually transmitted infections. But rather than simply sitting through a PowerPoint presentation, they will be learning by playing a game in which they will be talking with their peers. Do not tell the students the purpose of the game.
    • Distribute one slip to each student. Do not tell the students what the codes on the slips symbolize.
    • Be careful about how the slips are distributed. Ensure that the D slips are distributed to students who will be able to handle being singled out. And ensure that the P slip is distributed to a male student to avoid rumours about pregnancy.
    • Proceed with the presentation to the next slide containing the first question: What are 2 symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection?
    • Instruct students to discuss the question with two peers and to write down the names of each of these peers on their slip of paper
    • Once students have discussed the question, remind them to write the names down, and return to the presentation to review the symptoms of sexually transmitted infections
    • Proceed with the presentation until you arrive at the second question: How can someone get or give a sexually transmitted infection?
    • Instruct the students to discuss the question with two different peers. It's very important that they do not consult with either of the students they consulted for the first question. Remind them to write down these names as well. Each student should have four different peers' names on their slip.
    • Return to the presentation to discuss how sexually transmitted infections are spread
    • Proceed until you arrive at the third question: How can you prevent getting a sexually transmitted infection?
    • Instruct the students to discuss the question with two different peers. It's very important that they do not consult with the students they consulted for the first two questions. Remind them to write down these names as well. Each student should have six different peers' names on their slip.
    • Return to the presentation to discuss how sexually transmitted infections can be prevented and what resources are available for support

    Stage 2 - The Path of the Disease / Sexually Transmitted Infection

    • Cue the Wrap Up slide
    • Have students look at the letter on their slip of paper
    • Ask the person(s) with the letter D to stand. This person has an sexually transmitted infection. Remind students that this is just pretending! Sexually transmitted infections are not passed by talking to someone
    • Everyone in the class with the "infected" persons' name on their paper must now stand. These people have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection and may be infected.
    • Everyone in the class with any of the next group of "infected" people's names on their slip of paper must now stand
    • Continue this process until everyone is standing. (Everyone in the class should be standing given the limited number of people that they had the opportunity to interact with.)

    Stage 3 - The Path of the Disease / Sexually Transmitted Infection

    • Explain to the students that the code at the top of their slip of paper represents a choice and that these choices affect whether or not they have been infected

    Go through the different codes in the following order:

    • Students with the letter A may sit back down. They are in a relationship where both partners care about each other but have decided not to engage in any risky sexual behaviours. They are abstinent.
    • Students with the letter S may sit. They are single, they are safe, they are strong in their goals and are not in a relationship at present.
    • Students with the letters OC may sit. They have open communication with their partner. They know their sexual limits and have discussed them with their partner. Both partners respect those limits.
    • Students with the letter C may sit down. They used latex condoms correctly and consistently-every single time.
    • WAIT - look at your paper - do any of the C have a line underneath? You had condom failure! This could mean the condom broke, you used an expired condom, you didn't store it properly or you just didn't put it on correctly. Stand back up.
    • Students with the letters SN need to remain standing. They engaged in high risk behaviour by sharing a needle and have been exposed to someone else's blood.
    • Students with letter UI need to remain standing. They were under the influence of alcohol and thought they could control their behaviour. But because alcohol changes a person's ability to make clear choices, they couldn't control their behaviour and put themselves at risk.
    • Students with the letters MI need to remain standing. These students were misinformed. They assumed that since they were on 'the pill' they were protected against sexually transmitted infections.
    • The students with the letters US need to remain standing. They did not think about their sexual limits or if they did, they changed them because they were pressured by their partner and had unprotected sex anyway.

    The student with the letter P needs to remain standing. He is now pregnant and may have a sexually transmitted infection as a result of unprotected sex. Before the students who are standing can take their seats, discuss the fact that these are healthy, intelligent students who have been exposed to an "imaginary" sexually transmitted infection. They didn't know until the "contact" let them know they were at risk.

    Using the Summary slides, discuss the following questions with the students;

    • How did it feel to find out you had been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection?
    • How did it feel to find out you had exposed others to a sexually transmitted infection?
    • For those of you who were able to sit down and know that you were safe from a sexually transmitted infection, how did that feel?

    Throughout the discussion, emphasize and elicit that:

    • Sexually transmitted infections are not transmitted through casual contact
    • In order to get a sexually transmitted infection, one person who has the infection must share infected fluids (with the exception of HPV) with another
    • You cannot always tell who (including you) has the sexually transmitted infection
    • When you have unprotected intimate sexual contact (e.g. vaginal/oral/anal/genital touching) with someone, you are exposing yourself to any infections from anyone and everyone they have had unprotected intimate sexual contact with
    • The good news - you can completely protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections by remaining abstinent, setting limits, communicating them to your partner and sticking to them, and not engaging in high risk behaviours (e.g. using injectable drugs, drinking alcohol, etc.)
    • Remind students that their decisions have consequences, whether good or bad. Some decisions they make can affect the rest of their life.

    Variations

    • If this type of activity is inappropriate for your classroom (i.e. if it may cause problems for students, like teasing the students who have the D slip), you can deliver the presentation without the actual activity and have students discuss with their peers or simply ask the questions and discuss. If doing this, hide the Summary slides.
    • Alternatively, for more content, it may be helpful to revisit the Grade 7 presentation, but know that the students may have heard it already
    • If the students discover the meaning of the codes, for example, if other classes have done the activity and have discussed it with the students, substitute the codes in the table with different codes (e.g. numbers or colours)
    • For small classes (fewer than 11 students) or for use with multiple classes, consult with your school's health nurse for additional variations or modifications

Consult Your School's Public Health Nurse

Your school's public health nurse can help you prepare for delivering this presentation and can assist you in developing engaging projects and extension activities. To reach your school's public health nurse, contact healthyschools@niagararegion.ca or 905-688-8248 ext. 7379.

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