Making Decisions


  • Large sheets of butcher paper
  • Visible Writing Surface
  • Markers
  • Tape


You be the Judge (10 minutes)

Write down the following statements where everyone can see them:

“People can think they’re not carrying the disease when they really are.”

“The answer to AIDS is safe sex.”

“Postponing sex till marriage is one of the best decisions a person could make.”

“You can usually tell if someone has AIDS.”

“If someone tells you they aren’t infected, then it’s ok to have sex or take illegal drugs with them.”

“The Church says sex is always bad.”

“If you wear a condom, you won’t get AIDS”

“People who are drinking and using drugs often put themselves in risky and dangerous situations.”

“You are a jerk if you refuse to have sex or do drugs with someone.”

“You could get AIDS for trying something just once.”

Tell participants that they are to make a line against the wall that shows how much they agree or disagree with a statement. If they agree with the statement, they are to stand to your left. If they disagree with the statement, they are to stand to your right. If they aren’t sure, they are to stand in the middle. Tell them that the farther they stand to your left the more they agree and likewise to the right. When they get in their place have them ask the person on either side of them how much they agree and disagree. They may need to move to the left or right based upon what they say.

Map it Out (20 minutes)

Brainstorm a variety of situations in which persons might put themselves at risk of transmitting or become infected with HIV. Ask, how drinking and using other drugs can affect the spread of the virus.

Using the answers given, on a large piece of butcher paper have participants draw out a “map” that shows how HIV can travel and spread from person to person. You may wish to make the “map” interactive by having participants stand on a spot and explain how that situation would put a person at risk of becoming infected and passing on HIV. When the map is completed, point out how complicated this becomes and how contact with one person, can quickly become contact with dozens or even hundreds of people.

Making Tough Choices. (20 minutes)

Have participants pick a situation from their “map.” Have participants create presentations that demonstrate the positive choices that person could have made to avoid transmitting the disease. For example, if the person was at a party where people were doing drugs, the person instead of doing the drugs could have said no, or if the person was at a gym and was offered injectable steroids, he or she could have refused.

At the end of the presentation, ask, “What would be some of the consequences of his/her decision?” Try to get positive and negative consequences. [Positive: He/She didn’t become infected with the virus and won’t die of AIDS; Negative: [He/she might be ostracized at school, they might lose friends, etc.] Now ask, “Looking at both sets of consequences, which one is easier to live with?” Don’t expect a “correct” answer. Again, allow for discussion.

Remind participants that saying No once doesn’t necessarily mean No forever. When you say No, you are postponing sex or alcohol use not making a lifelong decision. Each time you get into a potentially risky situation you will have to decide to say NO again!

Your decision, however, will have life-long consequences. The choice you make at that moment will have a direct effect on your decision next time. Saying, “no” now can make it easier to say, “no” later and not saying “no” now will definitely make it harder to say, “no” later.

And the Church says . . . (10 minutes)

Discuss the following:

ยท What do you think is the Church’s teaching about the behaviors that transmit HIV and AIDS (sex and IV drugs)? Divide participants into groups and assign each group one of the following citations:

1Cor 6:9-11, 1Tim 1:8-11, Lev. 18:22; 20:13, Rom 1:24-27, 1Peter 4:1-6.

  • Understanding that there was no HIV when the Church drafted these teachings, why do you think the Church teaches this?