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close this bookAlternative Techniques - For Teaching about HIV/AIDS in the Classroom (Peace Corps, 1996, 205 p.)
close this folderStories
View the documentCome sit by me
View the documentChildren and the AIDS virus
View the documentChildren and the AIDS virus (Supplement for older students)
View the documentThe story of four friends

Come sit by me

Wachara woke up bright and early. She tiptoed into the big bedroom, snuggled into bed and whispered to her mother, "Is it a school day or a stayhome day?

"A school day," answered her mother sleepily.

"Hmmph." Wachara crossed her arms and pouted. "I like stay-home days better".

The semester break from school was over. What fun they had had playing games ... collecting treasures ... staying up late ... visiting with Grandpa and Grandma.

"But I want to stay home with you!" she said to her Father.

Father answered in the gentlest of ways, "Now Wachara, go and get ready. You'll be happy to see your friends and maybe there will be new friends to play with."

So mother went to her work at the health clinic. Father went to his work at the family shop. Her older brother Nikorn went to his big school and Wachara got to go to her kindergarten.

It was noisy.

When Chalermchon saw Wachara he yelled "Wachara, Wachara, come sit by me!"

Maliwan yelled even louder, "Wachara, come sit by me!" Everyone giggled and wiggled on their bottoms to make room for Wachara in the snack-time circle.

"It's so nice to have you back Wachara. We missed you. "Would you be the special helper today?" asked Miss Jiraporn, her teacher.

"Yes, please!" her smile got bigger and bigger as she helped serve oranges to her friends.

She was happy almost all of the day climbing, swinging, painting and playing pretend.

That day they played doctor.

"My mother's a doctor, so I get to be the doctor," Wachara said.

"I'll be the sick person," Maliwan said.

"I'll be the nurse," added Chalermchon.

Together they rescued Maliwan from a burning house, made her wet paper casts for her broken legs and gave medicine for Lamduan's fever.

They all got better.

Soonthorn was the new child in their group. He was quiet. He wasn't rude. He didn't play very much. He minded his manners at lunch.

That night Wachara told Mother about her day. "I had fun playing. I had a really good nap. Soonthorn isn't my friend yet."

The days got cooler and cooler. Everyone had to wear warm sweaters or jackets. One day Wachara told her family that Soonthorn was sick and she missed him.

"He's my best friend now," she said sadly.

"How many days has he been sick?" Mother asked.

"I don't know. A lot," she answered. After many sleeps, Soonthorn was feeling better and came back to school.

"What's AIDS?" Wachara asked one night at supper.

"AIDS is a sickness. Why do you ask?" asked Father.

"Because Jakkapong said he can't play with Soonthorn anymore because Soonthorn has AIDS."

"Do you play with Soonthorn?" Nikorn asked.

"Yes, he's my friend," she answered.

"Does he look sick? "her brother asked.

"I don't know." Wachara shrugged her answer and continued to eat her papaya salad and sticky rice.

Mother sat sown close to Wachara and told her this ...

"When you get sick with a fever, a cough or a runny nose, thousands of healthy fighter cells in your blood help make you get better."

"But if Soonthorn has AIDS, some of the most important fighter cells in his blood can't fight anymore. They can't help him get better from his fever, cough or runny nose like yours do."

Wachara asked, "If I play with him, will I get AIDS?"

"No," answered Mother. "You can play with Soonthorn, eat with him, nap by him, hug him, and do the things you normally do with all the other children."

So she did. She was happy. She had no worries. But some of the parents wouldn't let their children play with Wachara because she played with Soonthorn.

When Mother and Father found this out they were extremely upset. They sent messages to all of the parents and teachers and said, "We need to have a meeting and talk about AIDS."

Everyone came.

They talked and talked late into the night and they learned a lot about HIV and AIDS.

The next day, the children started to talk about dinosaurs.

They hunted for dinosaur bones around the school and planned to make dinosaur soup for lunch.

Soonthorn was the last to arrive.

When he saw what they were playing he shouted, "I know a lot about dinosaurs! You don't have to be afraid of them."

Jakkapong yelled, "Soonthorn, come sit by me!"

Chalermchon yelled even louder, "Soonthorn, come sit by me!!"

But Wachara yelled the loudest of all, "No, Soonthorn, come sit by me!!!"

Everyone giggled and wiggled on their bottoms to make room for Soonthorn in the snack-time circle.

"Soonthorn, would you like to be the special helper today?" asked Miss Jiraporn.

"Yes please," said Soonthorn.

And he was.

Many people are worried about getting HIV or AIDS. Most worries are unnecessary. You cannot get HIV or AIDS by:

Living with someone who has HIV or AIDS.
Sitting next to someone.
Caring for animals.
Having your hair cut.
Sharing cups, plates, knives and forks.
Shaking or holding hands.
Sharing a toilet or bathroom.
Mosquito bites.
Taking a nap next to someone.
Sharing toys.
Touching clothes or used tissues.
From coughs, sneezes or talking to someone.
Swimming in a pool or lake.
Playing with someone.
Eating and drinking.
Hugging someone.

Adapted from the story Come Sit By Me by Margaret Merrifield.

Children and the AIDS virus

Look in the mirror. What do you see?
A good-looking kid?
Yes, that's you!

Look closer. Your body has different parts - a head, arms, and legs. These parts have smaller parts. Your arms have hands, your hands have fingers, and the fingers have nails.

Look even closer. Can you see fine hairs on the back of your hand? These hairs are made up of even smaller parts called cells. A cell is so tiny that you cannot see it without a microscope.

Your whole body is made up of billions of living cells. Your skin, your nails, your muscles, bones, blood, even your heart - every single part of you are cells.

All around you, outside your body, live tiny things called microorganisms. They are invisible like cells. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, are often harmless. But some of them can make you ill if they invade your body.

Inside your body, millions of special cells are ready to fight off invaders. Your fighter cells protect you. They are your body's natural defense system.

Let's find out about your fighter cells and one of their enemies, viruses.

Do you know what happened the last time you had a cold?

A cold virus sneaked inside your nose or throat and quickly made more viruses. But your fighter cells discovered the invaders and attacked them. All this activity upset your body and made you sick.

Luckily, your body's defense system was strong. Your fighter cells killed the viruses, and you felt better.

Not only do children get the cold virus. Adults, like your mom and dad, catch it, too.

Where does the virus come from?

When a person with a cold sneezes, tiny droplets containing the cold virus fly through the air and land on anyone who is nearby. The virus can enter the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes. Because the virus is invisible, you never know when you get it.

Having a cold is no fun. But medicine, loving care, and rest can make you feel better.

Other viruses can make you more ill than the cold virus does. Measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and polio viruses also try to invade your body.

Before you were two years old a doctor or nurse gave you a special vaccination shot. The vaccine made your fighter cells so strong they could chase away the measles, mumps, or rubella virus. The vaccine made you immune. That means the virus could not make you ill.

Several years ago, doctors discovered a new virus: the HIV, or AIDS virus, which can cause AIDS. What happens when a person has the virus?

First HIV stays in the cells without doing harm. The person remains healthy.

Later, HIV multiplies and begins attacking fighter cells. That can make these people a little sick. They have ARC.

Finally, HIV kills many fighter cells. Without fighter cells, the body has no protection against harmful microorganisms. Bacteria, fungi, and common viruses can make these people ill with dangerous diseases. These people have AIDS.

It is important to learn about HIV. You will be glad to know that children almost never get this virus.

You do not catch it from a person's sneeze the way you catch the cold virus. No one gets AIDS from being around people or from touching them. You can't pick up HIV from things you share from others.

Usually, the AIDS virus cannot enter our body through the skin. It has to find other ways to get into the blood.

Let's find out how this can happen.

There are people who use illegal drugs. Some inject these dangerous drugs into the body with a needle. They share the needle with other drug users. If one of the drug users has AIDS, the virus could be in the blood that is on the needle. The next person who uses that needle may inject the AIDS virus into his or her own body.

There is another way HIV can get inside a person's body and into the blood - from body fluid.

When people have sex, body fluid can go from one person to the other. If one of the two people has HIV the tiny virus can slide with the body fluid inside the other person. From there, HIV finds its way into the blood.

As you get older, you may have questions about sex. Ask a parent, teacher, or another adult you trust for answers.

Young children do not catch HIV as long as they do not inject illegal drugs and do not have sex.

But ... haven't you heard about children who have AIDS?

Doctors will tell you that you can play with a child who has AIDS. You can swim in the same pool, visit each other's house, watch a movie, share toys, and enjoy snacks together. You can even share funny secrets with a friend who has AIDS.

Some babies are born with HIV. They were infected with the virus from their mothers who have AIDS. Babies with AIDS are often sick, and may need hospital care. Some die when they are still little. But as doctors and nurses keep learning about the virus, they are able to help more children survive longer.

Doctors and nurses are doing their best to make people with AIDS feel better when they are sick. But there is no medicine yet that kills the AIDS virus. Because there is no cure, adults and children with AIDS die.

In hospitals and laboratories, doctors and scientists are working hard to find medicine that will heal all AIDS-infected people.

Years ago, people suffered and died from measles, mumps, polio, and other serious diseases caused by viruses. The scientists found vaccines to protect everyone.

Today scientists are searching again. This time they are determined to find a vaccine that will make us immune to AIDS.

For now, understanding how HIV is spread can take away our fear of catching it. We can enjoy having a friend with AIDS because we know it is safe to play together, to hug each other, and to share funny secrets.

Adapted from Children and the AIDS Virus by Rosmarie Hausherr.

Children and the AIDS virus (Supplement for older students)

All viruses are invisible to the human eye. To see them, scientists use an electron microscope. This special instrument magnifies viruses thousands of times their original size.

The body has three types of fighter cells: T-cells, B-cells, and phagocytes. All of them together make up the natural immune defense system. B-cells are known as "white blood cells."

Under the microscope, each type of virus looks unique. One kind will have a smooth surface. Another will have spikes. Each type of virus causes a different disease.

No medicine kills the cold virus. But cough syrup, nose spray, or hot liquids can help when the body hurts.

A vaccine is a medical preparation usually injected into the arm. The polio vaccine is swallowed. There is no vaccine against chicken pox yet. Some vaccines protect from diseases caused by bacteria.

The body is immune when the fighter cells can easily identify and fight off a certain virus, or other harmful organisms, that tries to infect it.

Doctors identified the AIDS virus in 1984. They call it the HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It causes the loss of immunity in the human body. The word AIDS is put together from four other words: A = acquired, I = immune, D = deficiency, S = syndrome.

ARC means AIDS-related complex. People with ARC have a number of medical problems, but they are not seriously ill.

Doctors are studying HIV to learn why it attacks the immune system in some infected people and not in others.

Outside the human body, the AIDS virus dies quickly. For its survival, it needs a host cell in the human body. After penetrating a T-cell in the immune system, the virus multiplies until the host cell bursts and dies. Each spewed-out virus then repeats the process. Each type of virus chooses its own specific kind of host cell. HIV travels in the blood to different parts of the body.

Doctor's can tell from a special blood test if a person is HIV-infected. Infected means that a virus, bacteria or other parasite has invaded a person's body. If HIV-infected blood comes in contact with skin that has sores, cuts, or lesions, the virus could enter the body through these openings.

There is no risk of contracting a virus from injections given by health care professionals. Their needles and syringes are sterile and are used only one time.

Body fluid is "body water." We have different fluids in our body: tears, saliva (spit), and urine. Men have semen and women have vaginal fluids in their private parts. The HIV has been found in semen and vaginal fluids. But only small numbers of the virus have been detected in saliva and tears. This was also only found where the patient was about to die.

The HIV is dangerous because an infected adult may look and feel healthy and not know the virus is in the body. If that person has sex, the sex partner may become infected, too. To help protect themselves against receiving or spreading the HIV, many people practice safer sex. They use a condom. A condom is a thin piece of latex that encloses the penis. A condom prevents the exchange of body fluids.

Hospitals keep donated blood in blood banks. Since 1989, all blood in blood banks is checked for the HIV. Donating blood is always safe.

Some children and adults are born with blood that doesn't clot properly - a condition called hemophilia. When hemophiliacs are injured, they don't stop bleeding easily. They need a special dotting substance from donated blood. Before 1989, some hemophiliacs received HIV-contaminated blood.

More HIV-infected babies have been born in the last few years because more mothers have AIDS.

The HIV has spread throughout the world, and many adults and children have suffered and died from AIDS.

Intensive AIDS research is conducted in many countries. Scientists have made remarkable progress, but they still face unsolved problems. AIDS medicines are being developed and tested. Today only a few are available to AIDS patients. A drug called AZT does not offer a cure, but it seems to slow down the destruction of the immune system caused by the HIV.

From Children and the AIDS Virus by Rosmarie Hausherr.

The story of four friends

· To stress the importance of abstinence and monogamy in AIDS prevention.

Target Group:
· Secondary school students.

· Flip chart/picture cards.

· Prepare the flip chart cards beforehand or ask students to help to draw the cards.

Hints for the facilitator:

· Read the story ahead of time to yourself. Memorize the story picture by picture so that you do not have to read the story from this paper.

· Change the names of the people in the story so that they suit the people of your area. Add other details about the characters' backgrounds to make them more personal.

· Have the students sit near you. Or walk slowly around with each chart so everyone can see the pictures.

· Hold the charts up high enough so that everyone can see. Hide your fingers as much as you can, Point the pictures to the students, not towards yourself.

· Point out details in the pictures and ask students questions. Ask "Do you see the 4 friends in the picture?" "Does this woman look healthy or sick?" "What is happening in this picture here?"

The Story

CHART 1: The Four Friends
Malee, Sompong, Tong-Chai and Cha-on (give your own local names to these people in the story) were good friends. They had all been going to school since Prathom 1. Sompong and Malee liked each other very much as did Tong-Chai and Cha-on. Both couples dreamed of getting married some day, after they had finished secondary school.


CHART 2: Teacher Talks to Class
One day at school, the teacher announced that they would be having a special lesson about the new disease called AIDS. Some of the pupils had already heard a little about it, but no one was really sure about the facts. The lecture about AIDS was very interesting. The teacher explained that by following one simple rule you could almost always avoid this terrible disease. He said that by saying no to IV drugs and by choosing just one person for marriage and being faithful to them and they to you, you would not get this illness. He explained that though AIDS can be spread in other ways, it is usually spread by people who had sex with many other people, or who shoot drugs.


CHART 3: Two Boys Begin to Argue
Soon after the lesson Sompong and Tong-Chai were talking about what the teacher said about AIDS. Tong-Chai was surprised when Sompong said he didn't believe what the teacher said. Sompong said that to prove you were a man you should have sex with as many women as possible and to go to prostitutes. An older boy had told Sompong that all sexually transmitted Diseases could be cured easily with one big injection. Tong-Chai reminded Sompong that AIDS could not be cured at all and that it caused a painful death.


CHART 4: The Boys Go Their Separate Ways
Tong-chai tried as hard as he could to convince Sompong that he was wrong. Tong-Chai knew that it was exactly Sompong's kind of thinking that was causing AIDS to spread very rapidly. Tong-Chai kept trying until Sompong got angry with him and left to go talk with some other friends. Tong-Chai realized that these friends were the ones who had been the source of Sompong's mistaken ideas. Sompong's friends had all dropped out of school several years earlier and spent most of their time sitting around drinking Mekong and talking about women. Tong-Chai went to his other friends who were serious about their studies.


CHART 5: Two Girls Talk Together
Strangely enough, while this was happening, Malee and Cha-on were having a very similar conversation. Cha-on was shocked to find out the Malee had already started having sex with several older men who were buying many nice things for her. In spite of all her arguments, Cha-on couldn't convince Malee that she had to believe what they had been taught.


CHART 6: Boy and Girl are Betrothed
Several years went by and the two couples went their separate ways. Tong-chai and Cha-on both studied to become doctors. They had to work hard but they enjoyed their work. Soon Tong-chai asked Cha-on to marry him.


CHART 7: An idle Life
Neither Sompong or Malee finished school since they thought it was a waste of time. Sompong found odd jobs from time to time but most of his money was wasted on drinking and on prostitutes at the coffee shops. He knew that people said this was dangerous but he didn't care any more. Malee made her living by having sex with rich politicians and businessmen who would pick her up in their Mercedes. She was very unhappy but didn't know how else she could make money.


CHART 8: A Girl in Trouble
One day, Malee found out that she was pregnant. As her pregnancy progressed she slowly became sicker and sicker. She started to cough and have fevers every night. Instead of gaining weight she actually lost weight as the baby grew. By now, none of her rich friends would have anything to do with her. By chance, she went to the same hospital where Cha-on was doing her training. When Malee saw her, she begged Cha-on to help her.


CHART 9: At the Clinic
After examining Malee, Cha-on thought from her medical experience that Malee had AIDS. Blood tests proved that her old friend was dying of AIDS and that nothing could save her. It was very difficult, but Cha-on summoned her courage and sat down to tell Malee. Through her tears, Malee cried, "If only I had listened to you when we were back in school!"


CHART 10: At the Funeral
Soon after she had her baby, Malee died. Malee's aunt agreed to care for the baby even though it was sickly. Tong-chai and Cha-on told the aunt they would help her care for the baby as much as possible to give the child a chance at survival.


CHART 11: A Friend's Advice
One day after the funeral, Sompong came to see Tong-chai. Sompong told Tong-chai that he had been tested for the AIDS virus and that the infection was present in his blood. Although he was not having any symptoms, Sompong was very scared and asked Tong-chai what he should do. Tong-chai told Sompong to stop having sex with all women to keep him from spreading AIDS.

Tong-chai told Sompong to stop smoking cigarettes and greatly reduce the amount of alcohol he drank. He encouraged him to eat a healthier diet and to exercise daily. All these were all difficult changes for Sompong to make but he was determined to try his best after hearing Malee's fate. Tong-chai was very sorry for Sompong and he promised to help him with his struggle for life.


CHART 12: The Unbeliever Believes and Helps Others
In his spare time Sompong now began to study as much as he could about AIDS. When attending a community lecture about AIDS one day, a man at the back of the crowd told Sompong he did not believe what he heard about AIDS. Sompong gave the man a private man-to-man talk about AIDS and convinced the man to change his ways and understand the truth about AIDS. Sompong was determined to live as long as he could and to help as many people as possible to avoid his own terrible fate.


Questions for the Four Friends Story:

Ask the pupils questions about Sompong, Malee, Tong-chai and Cha-on and what happened in the story. Show the charts again as you discuss the events, such as:

· What was the important way to stop AIDS which the teacher told the class? Who did not believe this? Why did they not believe it?

· Why did Sompong get angry with Tong-chai? If you had a friend like Sompong, what would you do? What if Sompong were your brother?

· Why was Malee keeping company with older men? Did the nice things Malee got make her happy? What would you say to her if Malee was your friend.

· How did Tong-chai and Cha-on keep from getting AIDS?

· What were the things that Tong-chai told Sompong to do when he knew he had AIDS virus in his blood? Will these things cure the AIDS? How will they help others?

· Could the things that happened to Sompong and Malee happen to you? How will you stop it from happening?