Activity: Reversing the Spread of HIV/AIDS
More than 33 million people in the world - including more than 1 million people in the U.S. - are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Once a person becomes infected through sexual transmission, sharing needles with an HIV positive person, or being born to an HIV positive mother, he or she is infected for life. A person develops AIDS when the amount of HIV virus in the blood becomes too high and the amount of infection-fighting white blood cells becomes too low.
When a person has AIDS, their immune system may become unable to fight off infections like pneumonia. Being unable to recover from these infections is often the cause of death for people with AIDS. There is no cure or vaccine for HIV. Some types of medications, known as antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), can help slow the destruction of the immune system.
Health organizations and governments around the world have been working since the early 1980's to halt and reverse the spread of the disease.
The United Nations states that knowledge about HIV is the first step to preventing its transmission. Around the world, health advocates - including many Peace Corps Volunteers - are working to educate people about HIV and AIDS prevention.
You will research HIV/AIDS issues in the U.S. and around the world. You will also learn how communities are working to raise awareness about the disease. Finally, you will develop your own educational initiative to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS in your school or community.
Print the information collection worksheet and use it to record information as you work through the WebQuest.
Your work will be evaluated according to the chart below.
What do you know about HIV/AIDS?
There are many myths and misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. Read through the following resources:
Use the information you found most interesting to create five Fact or Myth questions and a corresponding answer key with explanations. Then pair up with a classmate and take turns quizzing one another using the questions you developed.
HIV/AIDS in the U.S.
Now examine the map of HIV rates by U.S. county.
What national trends do you notice? How does your county compare with the rest of the U.S.?
HIV/AIDS in the world
View the world map of HIV prevalence. Click on the map and zoom in to view data on the percentage of adults in each country infected with HIV.
Notice the countries in which at least 1 in 100 adults are living with HIV. Which regions of the world have infection rates at least this high? Is the U.S. among these countries?
Learn about the U.S. government's support of world AIDS relief. Why do you think the U.S. would commit to supporting AIDS relief in other countries?
How are Peace Corps Volunteers addressing the issue?
Peace Corps Volunteers spend two years in other countries working with communities. Review the videos below to find out how Peace Corps Volunteers are raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. Record information about the strategies Peace Corps Volunteers are using.
Educating your community
Work with a partner to consider the needs of the people in your community or school. What do you think would be the most important message to share with them about HIV/AIDS? (See the Examples for Educating Your Community under the Supporting Documents section)
What strategy do you think would work best to share this message? You might consider a strategy based on the Peace Corps examples you saw (e.g., creating a mural, organizing a World AIDS Day event) or you can come up with a strategy of your own.
What sources of information would you consult?
Sharing and enacting your idea
With your classmates, discuss the ideas you generated. As a group, decide on one idea you would like to pursue. What are your next steps for making it happen?
Reflect on your experience by writing about or discussing:
- How does HIV/AIDS affect a person's life? How does it affect a community?
- How does the HIV/AIDS situation in the U.S. compare and contrast with other parts of the world? Why do you think HIV/AIDS is still a problem in the U.S.?
- What do you think are the most effective ways to educate people about HIV/AIDS prevention?
- What can you do to address the global issue of HIV/AIDS?
Turning Hope Into Action: Judy Summers, Malawi
Life is Wonderful: Theo Davis, Kyrgyz Republic
|Students dispel common misconceptions about HIV/AIDS||Students identify some misconceptions regarding HIV/AIDS||Students identify some misconceptions and provide some explanations to clarify||Students identify misconceptions and provide clarifying explanations to most or all||Students identify misconceptions and provide well-articulated clarifying explanations|
|Students describe domestic and global trends in HIV rates||Students describe few domestic or global trends||Students describe several domestic and global trends in HIV rates||Students describe several domestic and global trends in HIV rates and begin to speculate reasons for these trends||Students describe several domestic and global trends in HIV rates and provide well-articulated hypotheses for these trends|
|Students identify real-world strategies for educating communities about HIV/AIDS||Students recall few strategies Peace Corps Volunteers are using to educate communities||Students describe in detail several strategies Peace Corps Volunteers are using to educate communities about HIV/AIDS||Students describe in detail several strategies Peace Corps Volunteers are using and speculate why this strategy might be effective||Students describe in detail several strategies Peace Corps Volunteers are using, speciulate why these strategies might be successful, and consider their effectiveness within their own communities|
|Students identify an educational need specific to their community and suggest a relevant way to meet this need||Students identify broad needs and strategies, not necessarily community-specific||Students identify a specific need in their community, and a general strategy they could use to address it||Students identify a specific need in their community, and a locally-relevant strategy for addressing the need||Students clearly identify a specific need in their community and a highly creative, locally-relevant strategy for addressing the need|