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Author(s): Gregory L Vogt, EdD, and Nancy P Moreno, PhD.

For HIV infection to take hold, a virus particle must first attach to a cell to gain entry. Shown above are HIV-1 particles assembling at the surface of an infected cell.
© L. Gross, Public Library of Science. CC-BY-SA.

Students investigate HIV/AIDS and discover how diseases spread; learn the structure, function, and replication cycle of HIV virus particles; and act as epidemiologists while using real data to track the spread of HIV/AIDS around the world.

Each lesson is comprised of an essay and an activity. The essay portions contain stark facts that may be difficult to absorb. Depending upon students’ grade and maturity levels, the essay may be used as teacher background information instead of student reading material. The following activities and readings are provided:

  1. Portrait of a Killer: Essay
    Modeling an HIV Particle: What does HIV look like?

  2. The Deadly Cycle: Essay
    Making Copies of an HIV Particle: How does HIV replicate?

  3. It's All in the Numbers: Essay
    Calculating Exponential Growth: What is exponential growth?

  4. Trailing the Pandemic: Essay
    Mapping the Spread of HIV/AIDS: Where is HIV/AIDS found around the globe?

  5. Myth or Fact? Essay
    HIV/AIDS in the United States: Where is HIV/AIDS in the U.S.?

Additionally, the guide may be used with articles found in the student magazines X-Times: Microbes (including a special report on HIV/AIDS) and  X-Times: Career Options (interviews with medical and healthcare professionals).

The Science of HIV/AIDS Teacher's Guide is most appropriate for students in grades 6–8 but may be used with students in grade 5 and grades 9–10. It also is available in print format.

This guide was developed in partnership with the Baylor-UT Houston Center for AIDS Research, an NIH-funded program.

Download: The Science of HIV/AIDS Teacher's Guide

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  • Introduction to Viruses

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    Viruses are not cells, but consist of genetic material, enclosed in a protective layer of protein. Learn more about the nature of viruses, and how scientists are working to understand and combat them.

  • X-Times: Microbes

    X-Times: Microbes Reading

    Student magazine: articles focusing on microbes, both helpful and harmful. Includes a special report, "HIV/AIDS: The Virus and the Epidemic."

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605