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Evidence-Based Programs

All Evidence-Based Programs

Get Real about AIDS

Overview of the Curriculum

The Get Real about AIDS high school version is a 14-lesson curriculum uses entertaining activities, discussions, roleplays, simulations and videos to give teens the knowledge and skills needed to reduce their risk of HIV infection. Although Get Real about AIDS is an HIV prevention curriculum, it addresses sexual risk-taking behaviors related to pregnancy prevention, including: delaying sexual activity, using condoms, being monogamous if sexually active, and avoiding risky situations.

Curriculum Objectives

At the completion of this program, youth will:

  • Reduce their risk of becoming infected with HIV.
  • Delay sexual activity.
  • If sexually active, use good judgement by abstaining from drug use, using condoms correctly, getting tested for HIV, and being monogamous.
  • Not share needles.

Curriculum Sessions

Get Real about AIDS consists of the following 14 lessons:

Lesson 1: Teenage Vulnerability to HIV

Lesson 2: Transmission of HIV

Lesson 3: All about AIDS and Other STDs

Lesson 4: Delaying Sex

Lesson 5: Preventing HIV Infection

Lesson 6: Limits

Lesson 7: The Refusal Skill, Day 1

Lesson 8: The Refusal Skill, Day 2

Lesson 9: Peer Messages

Lesson 10: Using the Refusal Skill Proactively

Lesson 11: Becoming Comfortable Using The Refusal Skill

Lesson 12: The Refusal Skill for Self-Control

Lesson 13: The Community Meeting

Lesson 14: Transfer

Unique Features of the Curriculum

Get Real about AIDS has features that distinguish it from other HIV prevention curricula:

  • It provides information in an interactive way.
  • It teaches important social skills.
  • It focuses on personal impact and vulnerability so students are motivated to use the information skills they learn.
  • It addresses the benefits of abstinence from sex at all grade levels.
  • It accommodates a wide range of learning styles through a mixed media approach that includes games, videotapes, projects and work sheets.
  • It presents and reinforces strong no-drug use messages.
  • The 9-12 grade program features lessons that address issues relevant to students who are already sexually active.
  • It features well-rehearsed teaching strategies, like cooperative team learning, and includes pre-post measures.

Theoretical Framework

Get Real about AIDS is based on a variety of teaching strategies, including Hunter's Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP), Botvin's teaching of social skills, the Johnson brothers' cooperative team learning, and Hawkins and Catalano's risk reduction and changing of peer norms.

Popham, W.J., et al. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Research-Based HIV Education Program." Forthcoming.

Main, D.S., et al. "Preventing HIV Infection among Adolescents: Evaluation of a School-Based Education Program." Prevention Medicine, 23, 4 (July/August 1994): 409-417.

Ordering and Training Information

A kit of material for grades 9-12 includes: a teacher's guide, a ground rules poster, a question box, 7 myth/fact posters, 2 steps posters, a message poster, 4 videos, a resource book, a pamphlet (30 copies), 30 transition cards, and 30 community resource cards. A demo kit includes samples of the myth/fact posters, step posters, videos, and community resource cards.

To order and for more information, contact:

AGC Educational Media
1560 Sherman Avenue, Suite 100
Evanston, IL 60201
phone: 1-800-323-9084
fax: (847) 328-6707

Comprehensive Health Education Foundation offers a wide variety of training options for people interested in HIV/AIDS in general, and Get Real about AIDS in particular. Three- and four-day Training of Trainers workshops are available, as well as two- and three-day teacher trainings. For more information on training, call 1-800-323-CHEF.

Evaluation Fact Sheet


Six school districts in Colorado delivered the intervention during the fall semester of 1991. More than 2,800 9th-12th grade students received the skills-based curriculum for 15 consecutive school days. Besides the curriculum, many intervention schools implemented activities that reinforced the themes of the lessons, such as displaying HIV posters throughout the school and students distributing wallet-sized HIV information cards to other students. In comparison schools, teachers continued to offer their usual HIV programs.

Behavioral Findings

Students in the intervention classes were more likely to report that they had purchased a condom than students in the control condition. Sexually active students reported having fewer sexual partners within the past two months and using a condom more often during sexual intercourse. The intervention did not significantly postpone the onset of sexual intercourse.

Other Significant Findings

Students in the intervention group scored significantly higher on a knowledge test of HIV than comparison students. Intervention students expressed greater intention to engage in safer sexual practices within the next two-month period. For sexually active students, that meant they intended to engage in sexual intercourse less often and to use a condom when they did have sexual intercourse. Intervention students were more likely to believe that someone their age who engaged in risky behaviors could become infected with HIV.

Classroom observations indicated that teachers included 75% of the lesson components and taught those components with 89% fidelity (i.e., taught them as written). The majority of teachers rated all lessons as more effective than their usual lessons and reported that student reactions were extremely positive.

Research Design

In the quasi-experimental design, 17 schools within participating districts were assigned to intervention (n=10) or comparison (n=7) groups. Within each district, comparison and intervention schools were matched on grade, gender, sex, and racial/ethnic distribution. Students completed a self-report questionnaire at baseline, at the end of the first semester, and at the end of the school year (i.e., six months after the intervention). In addition, trained observers collected program implementation data to determine the extent that students received the entire curriculum (completeness) and the extent that teachers adhered to specific activities within each lesson (fidelity).


Main DS, Iverson DC, McGloin J, Banspach SW, Collins JL, Rugg DL, and Kolbe LJ (1994). Preventing HIV infection among adolescents: Evaluation of a school-based education program. Preventive Medicine 23: 409-471.