BY Michelle Roland
University of Idaho
Grades 9-12



The primary source for this lesson plan is NOVA
Students will learn about the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS), a disease that has reached epidemic proportions around the world.  The purpose of this lesson plan is two-fold:

1) The student will gain an understanding of the epidemic proportion of this disease.
2)  Second the student will learn about the physiological effects of HIV on the immune system.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

Discuss the global effect of this epidemic
Demonstrate how HIV infects the body.
Identify the symptoms of AIDS.

Computer Equipment:

System and software: IBM-compatible or Macintosh

Pentium Processor, Windows 95 or higher, Macromedia Shockwave

The Shockwave plug-in can be obtained free of charge at:

Macintosh system G3 setup with System 8.x or higher

Modem connection at 56 Kbps. An ISDN or T1 connection is preferable and will work better.  Ideally there should be one computer per three students



Features a site that was designed as a companion to the show: "Surviving AIDS"

AIDS Frequently Asked Questions

Students are to use two main sites for obtaining information outlined in the objectives:        
General information and an introduction on AIDS as provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

To access one of the world's largest AIDS databases students can visit

Useful telephone numbers:

Project Inform National HIV/AIS Treatment Hotline 800--822-7422
This confidential hotline offers treatment information.

AIDS Action Hotline  800-235-2331
Hours: Mondays - Fridays 9AM -9PM;
Saturdays (9AM - 1PM (ET)
The AIDS Action Hotline provides AIDS information, such as testing and risk factors.

CDC National AIDS Hotline
(800) 342-AIDS(2437) (English)
24 hours, 7 days a week)

(800) 344 - SIDA 7432) (Spanish)
(8 AM - 2 AM ET)

(800) 243 -7889 (TTY for hearing impaired)
(Monday - Friday 10 AM - 10 PM ET)
CDC National AIDS Hotline offers information on transmission and prevention of HIV.

Previewing Activities

An estimated 33 million people worldwide are believed to be infected today with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  At this point the teacher may ask whether any of the students have friends, family members or have heard of someone that is HIV -positive.  Students can be encouraged to describe how this virus has affected the lives of those people.  Then students will be asked to share what they know about the life cycle of HIV. During this activity the students will be able to assess for themselves how well they are informed about HIV.

The teacher will distribute a sheet with the above bookmarks or will point students to a web page at which he/she has already setup the bookmarks for the students.  The students will be divided into groups of three per computer station and if possible one student, who is experienced in Internet browsing, is assigned per group.

Focus for Viewing

Following the previewing activity students will be instructed to investigate the bookmarks in order to find information that will answer the following questions:

  • What are the symptoms of AIDS?

  • How is the AIDS virus transmitted?

  • How prevalent is HIV or AIDS in the U>S and in the world?

  • Describe some of the treatments of HIV and AIDS, which are available today.

Viewing Activities

Students should follow the bookmarks given to them and write brief answers to the above questions.  At this point the teacher will call the students' attention and point his/her browser to 
At this particular site he/she will show the students how the immune system normally functions. This Internet page requires the Shockwave plug-in, which can be obtained at the following link:

The teacher can demonstrate how to run the Shockwave program, which shows how the human immune system usually protects itself against viruses.  Once the instructor has explained how a "normal" virus is destroyed by our immune system, he/she can explain how HIV "hides" from the immune system.  The teacher can further illustrate the life cycle of HIV by showing previously downloaded Quicktime movies from "HIV in Action"

Lastly, students are encouraged to visit "AIDS in Perspective"
to learn more facts about the distribution of AIDS around the world.

Further sites of interest during the "viewing activities" section are:


AIDS Vaccines:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Project Inform

Post Viewing Activities

The students will present their answers to the class. Teacher instructs students to discuss within their groups what types of behavior increases the risk of contracting HIV.  Students can also share their ideas on why Africa is disproportionally and most affected by the AIDS epidemic.


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