Prevention of STDs

9, 10, 11, 12

Students research the names, causes, and symptoms of common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They identify resources someone can turn to for help with STDs and propose and carry out a plan to teach others about STDs.

PrintOne 50-Minute Class Period, plus time to plan and carry out a service project

The learners will:

  • name common sexually transmitted diseases and research their symptoms and prevention.
  • identify resources for information and help, if needed.
  • propose a plan to help teens reduce their exposure to STDs.
  • Chart paper
  • Vocabulary on chart paper made in advance
  • Magic markers
  • Lined paper
  • Pencils
  • Internet access and computers

sexually transmitted disease (STD): an illness that has a significant probability of transmission by means of human sexual behavior


Have youth write a personal list of things they may do with the information gleaned from this lesson.


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Tell students that "Nineteen million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24." (This fact is from where students can read other facts about teens and sexually transmitted diseases

  2. Define sexually transmitted diseases as "infections that are spread through sexual contact." Write the following acronyms on chart paper or the board: STD, AIDS, HIV, HBV, HPV, PID, HSV, and CDC. Challenge youth to work in pairs or small groups to come up with the full identification of these acronyms related to sexually transmitted diseases. They may use the internet to identify the acronyms (answers: STDs-Sexually Transmitted Diseases, AIDS- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, HIV-Human Immune Deficiency Virus, HBV-Hepatitis B Virus, HPV-Human Papilloma Virus, PID Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, HSV-Herpes Simplex Virus, CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  3. After ten minutes of group work, bring the class together to fill in the full names on the chart or board.

  4. Ask whether they think teens would be less likely to get these infections if they had more information? Discuss.

  5. Ask the students whether reducing the number of people getting these infections would benefit the whole community. Tell the students that taking action that benefits the common good is called philanthropy. Ask if they are familiar with the word. Many people think that philanthropy is when rich people give money. Use the definition, "philanthropy is giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good" to discuss that anyone can be a philanthropist and make a difference because everyone can give time or talent.

  6. Tell the students that sharing information with others to raise awareness of an issue is called advocacy. Advocacy is a form of philanthropy, or service to others. Discuss ways young people can share information (social media, video, writing letter to the local newspaper, talking about it, displaying facts, putting up posters).

  7. Organize students into research groups (two to four students) and assign each group one of the infections to find out what it is, its symptoms, and how it can be prevented and treated. They report information on the four facts through images and brief text on one sheet of paper. Give one group the assignment of finding local resources for where can youth get tested and treated and of finding statistics about teens with STDs in their community. When the research time is up, each group posts their research on the board. (Either the class walks by to read each paper, or the teacher projects each paper on the board.) Discuss the information found and discuss whether teen STDs is an issue in the local community.

  8. Have a discussion about taking action at school or in the community to reduce the problem of teen STDs in their community. Ideas include creating information posters or pamphlets, designing a social media campaign, writing a letter to the local newspaper or a blog, inviting a speaker to school, or making pledge cards available to encourage youth to use appropriate preventative measures. Note: Students may need to get permission for their advocacy.

  9. Discuss how different sectors of society--government, business, nonprofit, and family--may address this issue differently. What are the barriers for each sector to take action in this issue?

  10. Assist students as they make a plan to address the issue. They should observe statistics before and after they implement their plan, take action, then report on their actions and the effect of their actions on themselves and the community.

Cross Curriculum 

Students plan and carry out a campaign to educate others about sexually transmitted diseases, with a goal of reducing the number of cases of STDs in the teen community.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Explain why needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society and family.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.