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close this bookSchool Health Education to Prevent AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) : Teachers' Guide (UNESCO - WHO, 1994, 117 p.)
close this folderUnit 1. Basic knowledge on HIV/AIDS/STD
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1 HIV/AIDS/STD basic questions and answers - What is HIV/AIDS/STD?
View the document2 Looking into AIDS - Fun test on HIV/AIDS/STD
View the document3 HIV/AIDS/STD - What do they mean? - Definitions of HIV/AIDS/STD
View the document4 How a person gets HIV - Information on transmission
View the document5 You can’t get AIDS by... - Ways HIV is not transmitted
View the document6 What do you believe? - Short test on transmission
View the document7 What would you do? - Case studies on transmission
View the document8 What is your risk? - Evaluating risk behaviours
View the document9 Are you at risk (part 1)
View the documentAre you at risk (part 2)
View the documentAre you at risk (part 3) - Evaluating risk behaviours and accumulated risks
View the document10 Protect yourself against AIDS - Information sheet on protection
View the document11 Dear Doctor Sue - Letters on protection
View the document12 Which is safer? - Evaluating ways of protection
View the document13 What happens with HIV infection? - Information on signs and symptoms
View the document14 How do you know if you have HIV/AIDS? - Case studies on signs and symptoms
View the document15 Testing for HIV - Basic information on testing
View the document16 Test: What you know about testing - Short test on testing for HIV
View the document17 AIDS help - Who? Where? - Where help can be found
View the document18 You be the doctor - Case studies on drug use
View the document19 Are you a responsible person? - Behavioural intent questions on personal responsibility

11 Dear Doctor Sue - Letters on protection


The medical profession is viewed as a reliable source of information about HIV/AIDS/STD. Dear Doctor letters allow students the opportunity of role-playing a health professional and comparing their advice to that of an actual doctor.

What the teacher does

1. Decide how to teach this activity

a) Provide a sheet for each student in the class and have them write one or more of the letters individually.

b) Divide students into a number of small groups and give each group one letter. Have each group do one or more of the letters.

c) Read the letter to the students and have individuals, pairs or small groups talk about or write a response. The “Doctor’s bag” would have to be written on the blackboard. (You only need one activity sheet for this method.)

2. Read the “Why?” and “How?” part of this activity to the students. Explain that they will write responses to the three letters as though they were doctors (individuals, pairs or small groups). Remind the students that the topic is protection from HIV/STD.

3. Explain that their letters will be compared to letters that have actually been reviewed by doctors who are experts in HIV/AIDS/STD. Tell them that young people often give good information and that their letters can be very useful to others.

4. Explain that they have a “Doctor’s bag” of ideas to help them.

5. Ask a number of students or groups to read their first letter. Then read the actual doctor’s letter (see next page) and ask the students to compare answers. Do the same thing for the second and third letters.

Additional preparation

You may think of additional things that could be put in the “Doctor’s bag” that are more applicable to your community.

Actual letters from doctors

Dear Norah,

You have made an important first step in writing this letter. I hope I can help you. Let me first say that you should do what you think is best for you and you shouldn’t let someone else make that decision for you. It seems to me that your feeling of not wanting to have sex at this time in your life is a good idea. Often if you can delay having sex for a few years you will make better decisions and be more responsible about avoiding unwanted pregnancy and HIV/AIDS/STD. There are many ways of showing affection to your boyfriend without actually having sexual intercourse. Suggest to him that everyone is not doing “it” and there are other ways of showing each other love. Tell him about some of these and ask him to tell you about any he knows. You may have to be assertive with your boyfriend to get him to understand. Remember that no boy is worth having who doesn’t listen to you or respect your feelings.

If you decide to have sex with your boyfriend, it is absolutely necessary for him to use a condom properly. If he doesn’t wish to or won’t buy them, then refuse to have sex. Remember, condoms are the only way to protect yourself from HIV/AIDS/STD.

Yours sincerely, Doctor Sue

Dear John,

Let me say first that your compassion and worry for your brother is very kind. I think Abine has a true brother in you. Abine has at least three problems. First, in using a knife with someone else’s blood on it, he has possibly exposed himself to HIV. Second, since he thinks he has an STD, I assume he has had sex with someone. If he has caught an STD, he is at higher risk for HIV and since he didn’t use protection while having sex, he could pass the STD and possibly HIV to others. Third, the fact that he doesn’t get much sleep, has a poor diet and smokes means that his body’s defense against germs is lower. I feel that you should immediately talk to Abine about visiting a doctor, clinic or hospital. Tell him you will make the appointment and will go with him. I hope this information will help you.

Yours sincerely, Doctor Sue

Dear Allana,

I think you must be very worried and I hope I can help you. Sometimes worry stops people from taking action to do something about their situation. Often worries are needless in that there is no problem. You must go to a doctor, clinic or hospital for a check-up. If you find this difficult, find a friend or adult to go with you. A friend or adult to talk to is very important. If you have a problem, you will be given help and advice. If you don’t have a problem and there is a good chance you don’t, you must do one of the following. You should perhaps delay having sex until you are ready. If you continue having sex you should consider reducing the number of sexual partners and insist on the proper use of a condom which will protect you from pregnancy and HIV/AIDS/STD. Good luck.

Yours sincerely, Doctor Sue