Just Say No To Risky AIDS Behaviors

Britt Hammond and Howard Waterman
1991 Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute

Object of the Activity:

You will learn about behaviors associated with getting acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and learn the infectious cycle for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The object is to avoid getting AIDS by carefully using a supply of "Just Say No" cards to avoid playing the "Choice" cards on the board. If at the end of 16 rounds of play you still have any Choice cards still on the "Infectious Cycle" board, that would suggest you have AIDS and are out of the game of life. The activity may end at any time and the number of Infectious Cycle cards played by each player would indicate the number of risky behaviors they experienced.

  • Infectious Cycle board (folder) has 16 steps in the infection cycle of the AIDS virus. When the player lacks enough Just Say No cards to discard them to the stack, Choice cards are played on the board square number corresponding to the round of play. Each stage in the cycle is read with each round of play prior to drawing cards.

  • Choice cards tell how many Just Say No cards it will take to discard the Choice card rather than play it on the Infectious Cycle board. They are drawn from the stack, read aloud and played on the board or returned to the bottom of the stack. The number of Just Say No cards needed to discard to the stack rather than play on the board generally corresponds to the relative risk of the behavior. The greater the risk for that behavior, the more Just Say No cards will be needed to avoid the consequence (playing the Choice card on the board). If you have no Just Say No cards, that's much like not being able to say "no" to a friend or to a risky behavior. You MUST then play the Choice card on the Infectious Cycle board and accept the additional risk - just as you would if you were unable to say "no" to a behavior or friend.

  • Just Say No cards are used to avoid playing the Choice cards on the board and loosing the game of life. Running out of Just Say No cards is like not being able to say "no" to friends or to risky behaviors.

  • Preparing to play: Each player will need a virus infectious cycle folder with sixteen steps on it. Place the Just Say No cards and the Choice cards in two piles within easy reach of all players.


  1. High roll on a die goes first and play proceeds clockwise.
  2. Read aloud the next step in the infectious cycle. Each person will read aloud the step in the cycle corresponding to the round of play. That is, if you have finished five rounds of play, each player will next read aloud step six during the next round of play.
  3. Draw two cards with each turn., one Just Say No card and one Choice card.
  4. Read aloud the Choice card noting the number of Just Say No cards needed to discard rather than play the card on the Infectious Cycle board.
  5. If you have enough Just Say No cards, you may discard the Choice card to the bottom of its pile without playing it on the Infectious Cycle board. Return the Just Say No cards to their stack.
  6. If you do NOT have enough Just Say No cards, you must accept the risk and play the Choice card on top of the Infectious Cycle board, increasing your risk of getting a full blown AIDS infection. That is, if you are on the sixth round, you will play the Choice card on the sixth step of the infectious cycle.
  7. Just Say No cards are accumulated and used whenever necessary to avoid risky choices from the Choice cards.
  8. Some Choice Cards may not require a Just Say No card to discard. These are particularly true for behaviors that place you at little or no risk of getting the virus.
  9. Behaviors that do not allow choices and for which just saying "no" may not remove the risk such as rape, will allow the throw of one die to eliminate the risk and allow you to avoid the risk. If your luck is bad, you could be out of the game of life.
  10. Previously played Choice cards may be removed from the board if sufficient numbers of Just Say No cards are used. On your turn, because it is more difficult to say "no" the second time around, you must use one more Just Say No card than shown on the Choice card to return the card to the Choice card pile.
  11. Behaviors easy to say "No" to will require fewer Just Say No cards than those more difficult or more risky.

Teacher Preparation

Materials for each group of 4 students:

  1. Run off four copies of the AIDS Infectious Cycle cards 1-16. Staple or tape these to the inside of four manilla folders.
  2. Run off and cut apart a set of the Choice cards. There will be 64 Choice cards. (Perhaps the students could initially cut out their own sets. Then store them in the folders for future use.)
  3. Run off five copies of the Just Say No cards. Cut them apart. There will be 50 cards (Perhaps initially students could cut apart their own cards.)
  4. Make four copies of the Just Say No introduction and rules for distribution to the student players
  5. Each team will need one die.
  6. Copied sheets of cards might be of colored paper and laminated for durability. Laminate the sheet before cutting into cards.


Curtis, Helena, and Barnes, N. Sue. Biology. Worth Publishers, Inc.New York, New York. 1989, pp. 814-818.

Raven, Peter H., and Johnson, George B. Biology. Times Morror/Mosby College Publishing. St. Louis, Missouri. 1919. pp. 1031-1051.

Roitt, Ivan M. Essential Immunology. Blackwell Scientific Publications. London, England. 1988. pp. 188-191.

Starr, Ceicie, and Taggert, Ralph. Biology The Unity and Diversity of Life. Wadsworth Publishing. Belmont, California. 1989. pp. 418-433.

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