Middle School Lesson 5 Sample

Students review STD transmission by doing a True/False activity. Working in pairs or triads, they use a persuasion map to develop convincing argument about preventing STDs. Then pairs/triads create STD prevention Public Service Announcements for social media and share them with the class.

Student Learning Objectives

The student will be able to …

  1. Describe the benefits of sexual abstinence as the safest, most effective risk avoidance method of protection from STDs. 
  2. Describe the benefits of condoms in reducing the risk of STDs.
  3. Describe the benefits of testing in reducing the spread of STDs.
  4. State a health-enhancing position on the prevention of STDs supported with medically accurate information.
  5. Collaborate with others to advocate for behaviors that prevent STDs.

Lesson Timing

Activity Duration
Warm up Bell work + 3 minutes
Introduce topic and warm-up answer key 5 minutes
Testing locations 5 minutes
STD review exercise 10 minutes
Persuasion maps 10 minutes
Public service announcements 14 minutes
Assign homework  
Exit ticket 3 minutes
Total 50 minutes

Key Concepts | Standards | Rationale | References

Bottom Line Statements

  • Abstain from sex to protect yourself from HIV and other STDs.
  • Use a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex with a penis.
  • Go to a clinic to get tested for HIV and other STDs if you ever have unprotected sex.


Key Concepts

People can prevent getting HIV and other STDs by not having sex, by using condoms if they do have sex, and by not sharing needles.

Condoms are easy to get and easy to use.

Many teens successfully use condoms.

The only way to know if you have HIV or other STDs is to get tested.

In this community, teens can get tested for HIV and other STDs at (insert clinic name) in this community.

People of all sexual orientations and gender identities need to protect themselves from HIV and other STDs.

Choosing abstinence means a person does not have to worry about pregnancy or STDs.



National Health Education Standards

Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.

  • SH1.8.7 Determine the benefits of being sexually abstinent.
  • SH1.8.9 Describe why sexual abstinence is the safest, most effective risk avoidance method of protection from HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy.
  • SH1.8.16 Explain how the most common STDs are transmitted.
  • SH1.8.17 Explain how HIV is transmitted.
  • SH1.8.18 Describe usual signs and symptoms of common STDs.
  • SH1.8.19 Describe usual signs and symptoms of HIV.
  • SH1.8.20 Explain that some STDs and HIV are asymptomatic
  • SH1.8.21 Explain the short- and long-term consequences of common STDs.
  • SH1.8.22 Explain the short- and long-term consequences of HIV.
  • SH1.8.24 Summarize ways to decrease the spread of STDs and HIV by not having sex, using condoms consistently and correctly when having sex, not touching blood, and not touching used hypodermic needles.
  • SH1.8.25 Describe how the effectiveness of condoms can reduce the risk of HIV, and other STDs including HPV (Human Papillomavirus).
  • SH1.8.26 Describe ways sexually active people can reduce the risk of HIV, and other STDs including HPV (Human Papillomavirus).

Standard 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.

  • SH3.8.4 Describe situations that call for professional sexual healthcare services.
  • SH3.8.8 Locate valid and reliable sexual healthcare services.

Standard 4: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.

  • SH4.8.1 Demonstrate the effective use of verbal and nonverbal communication skills to promote sexual health and healthy relationships.

Standard 5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.

  • SH5.8.4 Explain how family, culture, media, peers, and personal beliefs affect a sexual health-related decision.
  • SH5.8.7 Choose a healthy alternative when making a sexual health-related decision.

Standard 7: Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.

  • SH7.8.1 Explain the importance of being responsible for practicing sexual abstinence.

Standard 8: Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.

  • SH8.8.1 State a health-enhancing position on a sexual health-related topic, supported with accurate information, to improve the health of others.
  • SH8.8.2 Persuade others to avoid or reduce risky sexual behaviors.
  • SH8.8.5 Collaborate with others to advocate for opportunities to avoid or reduce risky sexual behaviors.

National Sexuality Education Standards

  • PR.8.IC.1 Demonstrate the use of effective communication skills to support one’s decision to abstain from sexual behaviors.
  • SH.8.CC.1 Define STDs, including HIV, and how they are and are not transmitted.
  • SH.8.CC.2 Compare and contrast behaviors, including abstinence, to determine the potential risk of STD/HIV transmission from each.
  • SH.8.CC.3 Describe the signs, symptoms and potential impacts of STDs, including HIV.
  • SH.8.AI.1 Identify medically accurate information about STDs, including HIV.
  • SH.8.AI.2 Identify local STD and HIV testing and treatment resources.
  • SH.8.IC.1 Demonstrate the use of effective communication skills to reduce or eliminate risk for STDs, including HIV.
  • HR.8.SM.2 Describe strategies to use social media safely, legally and respectfully.



STD prevention is critical for young people. Ten million new cases of STDs each year in the United States are acquired by people between the ages of 15 and 24.1 This lesson is geared toward middle school students who are currently at risk for acquiring an STD, as well as those who may not need to use prevention strategies for years to come.

The lesson aims to create health-enhancing social norms related to STD prevention by having students create and hear each other’s public service announcements. It also incorporates gist-based decision making related to sexual behavior. Research on this new model demonstrates the importance of teaching young people to apply a “bottom line” rather than teaching a decision-making model that focuses on risks and benefits. In this lesson, the bottom lines are the three primary prevention strategies: abstain from sex, use a condom, and get tested for STDs, including HIV.2, 3, 4

Abstinence and condoms are taught side-by-side in this lesson, as most people use both strategies at different points in their lives. Research has demonstrated that teaching about condoms before a person is sexually active does not cause them to become sexually active any sooner, and in fact, increases the chances that they will use condoms in the future when needed.5

From a public health perspective, testing for HIV and other STDs is a key strategy in reducing transmission. There is treatment for all STDs, including HIV; there is a cure for most STDs. In all cases, prompt identification and treatment for STDs, including HIV, not only improves the health and well-being of the person treated, but greatly reduces chances of transmission to others. Additionally, people who are tested for HIV and other STDs typically receive counseling in reducing their future risk of acquiring an infection and in preventing transmission. From an educational perspective, increasing testing and treatment for STDs is a key behavioral goal toward STD reduction, along with increased condom use and abstinence.6

The lesson includes a general overview of HIV and other STDs, but it does not contain detailed information about individual STDs. Health behavior change research shows that focusing on skills, attitudes and behaviors is more effective at improving health outcomes than memorizing facts.7 Therefore, FLASH deemphasizes memorizing details related to specific STDs.

Sexually transmitted diseases are referred to as STDs in this lesson, as opposed to the also acceptable term sexually transmitted infection (STI). Both terms can be used interchangeably and are medically accurate. This lesson follows the guidance of the CDC in choosing to use STD.



1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2014. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2. Reyna, V. F., & Adam, M. B. (2003). Fuzzy-trace theory, risk communication, and product labeling in sexually transmitted diseases. Risk Analysis, 23, 325–342.

3. Reyna, V. F., Adam, M. B., Poirier, K., LeCroy, C. W., & Brainerd, C. J. (2005). Risky decision-making in childhood and adolescence: A fuzzy-trace theory approach. In J. Jacobs and P. Klacynski (Eds.), The development of judgment and decision-making in children and adolescents (pp. 77–106). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

4. Reyna, V. F., & Brainerd, C. J. (1991). Fuzzy-trace theory and framing effects in choice: Gist extraction, truncation, and conversion. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 4, 249–262.

5. Kirby, D. (2007). Emerging answers 2007: Research findings on programs to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

6. Kirby, D., Coyle, K., Alton, F., Rolleri, L., & Robin, L. (2011). Reducing adolescent sexual risk: A theoretical guide for developing and adapting curriculum-based programs. Scotts Valley, CA: ETR Associates.

7. Schaalma, H. P., Abraham, C., Gilmore, M. R., & Kok, G. (2004). Sex education as health promotion: What does it take? Archives for Sexual Behaviour, 33, 3, 259–269.

Materials Needed | Teacher Preparation

Materials Needed

Student Materials

Reminder: The family homework is available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic under Resources for Families.

Classroom Materials

Teacher Materials


Teacher Preparation

  1. Prepare Visual for document camera or projector.
  2. Optional: Create a local Sexual Health Resource Sheet for students, following the instructions in the Developing a Local Sexual Health Resources List: Teacher Guide. For teachers outside of Washington State: Visit http://sexetc.org/action-center/sex-in-the-states/ to learn about laws for minors seeking testing for HIV and other STDs.


1. Warm up

Hand out the Warm Up to students and have them complete the STD Crossword Puzzle. Encourage them to help each other.

2. Introduce topic and show puzzle answers

Define STDs and explain the topic’s relevance. Show answers to the Warm Up, including where to get testing for STDs and HIV. Pass out Sexual Health Resources in the United States, in King County or create your own list.

3. STD review

Read each statement aloud. Have students indicate their agreement after each item:

  • Stand up = true
  • Sit down = false
  • Hold up both hands = unsure

Give students the correct answer and respond to any questions after each item. When debriefing answers, be cautious about giving away the answers to subsequent items.

Statement Answer Teacher talking points
1. HIV is a virus. True  
2. HIV is found in the blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk of someone who has the virus. True  
3. Bumps, sores, painful urination and unusual fluid from the penis or vagina are possible signs of an STD. True  
4. People who have HIV and other STDs often have no symptoms at all. True  
5. HIV can be spread through sweat, tears or urine. False  
6. Some people can’t get pregnant after having an STD. True This usually happens when someone has had an STD a long time or many times without knowing and without getting treatment.
7. HIV can be cured with medicine. False There is still no cure for HIV, despite all of the advances in medicine.
8. People can live a very long time with HIV with the help of a doctor. True Medicine helps people live longer and healthier; helps make them less likely to pass HIV to others; and helps pregnant women not pass HIV to their babies.
9. Anyone can get an STD: male, female, trans, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, poor, or rich. True  
10. A person can get an STD by having unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex with someone who already has an STD. True STDs can spread by semen, vaginal fluid, blood, breast milk or skin-to-skin, depending on the specific type of STD. The most common ways are vaginal sex and anal sex.
11. The most effective ways to protect against HIV and other STDs is to not have sex and not inject drugs. True  
12. Vaginal, anal or oral sex with a penis is much safer when using a condom. True Condoms are the best way for a person who has vaginal, anal or oral sex with a penis to protect themselves from HIV and other STDs.
13. Some STDs can be cured with medicine. True Many STDs can be cured, and all of them can be made better with treatment.
14. A person usually can tell if they have an STD by their symptoms. False Most of the time people have no symptoms.
15. There is a vaccine to help people prevent getting Human Papillomavirus, a cancer-causing STD. True  
16. It is risky to receive donated blood. False The blood supply is very safe. It is tested for HIV.
17. A person can choose abstinence at any point in their life. True  

4. Persuasion maps

Distribute the Persuasion Map Worksheet and Facts about STDs Handout. Working in pairs or triads, have students fill in the Persuasion Map to create a convincing argument about preventing STDs. The Persuasion Map has three options for main messages that students can choose from.

5. STD prevention messages

Display the Using Social Media to Help Others Visual..

Read aloud the Using Social Media to Help Others Visual, which includes the activity instructions. Let students know how the PSA’s will be shared, if permitted.

Allow time for each pair/triad to create an STD prevention Public Service Announcement for social media, using their completed Persuasion Map worksheet. Leave 5 minutes for each small group to take turns reading their Public Service Announcement at the end of class.

Work with your school administrator to determine opportunities for posting the Public Service Announcements online. If this isn’t an option, look at options for sharing the messages within the school building: reader board, school announcements, hallways, classroom, etc.

6. Assign homework

Allow students to choose between the individual or family homework and explain the assignments as needed.

Individual Homework: Preventing STDs

Family Homework: Talking About HIV and Other STDs

Reminder: The Family Homework is also available in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic under Resources for Families

7. Exit ticket

Hand out the Lesson 5 Exit Ticket.

Question: List at least 2 ways to prevent getting an STD, including HIV.

Possible Answers:

  • Not having sex
  • Not using injection drugs
  • Using condoms
  • Getting tested and treated for STDs, including HIV
  • Getting the vaccine for Human Papillomavirus


Lesson 5 Assessment

Assess student learning for this lesson using the Assessment Questions and Assessment Key.

Integrated Learning Activities

TECHNOLOGY: STD Clinic Brochure

Enter a zip code to find a clinic that offers HIV testing at www.aids.gov. Develop a flyer or wallet card for the clinic using Microsoft Word, Publisher, PowerPoint or other program. The flyer or wallet card should include the name, clinic hours, address, and statements that encourage testing, without negative judgments or scare tactics.

SOCIAL STUDIES: Racism in STD Research

People of all ethnic and racial backgrounds get STDs. One particular study of an STD called syphilis is well-known in the history of medicine for its injustice. Write a research report on the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in which life-saving medicine was withheld from African-American men from 1932 to1972. Be sure to include how the public became aware of the study, and what laws were put it in place to prevent it from happening in the future.