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Sexually Transmitted Infections

Where and Why?


Sara Akhlaghi

University of California, Irvine
Vihar T. Naik

University of California, Irvine
Vahe A. Aghajanyan

University of California, Irvine
Cathleen Shen

University of California, Irvine
Huong Do

University of California, Irvine
Alan R. Ahorro

University of California, Irvine
Ramdeepak Hari

University of California, Irvine
Andrea C. Nicholas
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior
University of California, Irvine


This case study focuses on the etiology and epidemiology of four sexually transmitted infections (STIs):  human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. The case provides background information about each disease and three classroom activities: a doctor-patient role play, an interactive game, and a concluding activity for small groups. The role play teaches students about symptoms, social relevance, and importance of safe sex practices and regular STI testing. The interactive game, described in the teaching notes, places students in the role of travelers to three different countries. The concluding activity gives students an opportunity to work collaboratively to complete a set of questions and a summary chart (see teaching notes). Overall, the case study provides insight to students about the causes, modes of transmission, and importance of preventing the spread of STIs. The case is appropriate for use in courses that cover human biology, microbiology, infectious disease, public health, or HIV education, and is ideally suited for high school upperclassmen and college freshmen.


  • Learn about the prevalence of four STIs (HIV, hepatitis B, chlamydia, and gonorrhea) among different populations around the world.
  • Describe the different modes of STI transmission from person to person.
  • Explain what an opportunistic infection is and why individuals with STIs are susceptible.
  • Analyze the contribution of cultural and social factors to health and disease susceptibility.
  • Identify elements of a holistic approach to medicine.


Sexually transmitted diseases; STD; sexually transmitted infections; STI; gonorrhea; chlamydia; hepatitis B; HIV; tuberculosis

Topical Areas

Policy issues, Social issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Public Health  |   Science (General)  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

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