Sexually transmissible infections

Time to complete Sexually transmissible infections: 60 minutes

Year level: 10


Students investigate the risks, symptoms and methods of transmission of STIs and safer sex behaviours.

Learning focus

Year 10: External influences on sexuality and sexual health behaviours, including the impact decisions and actions have on their own and other's wellbeing.

Year 10: Critical health literacy skills and strategies: evaluating health services in the community; examining policies and processes for ensuring safer behaviours. 

Key understandings

enlightenedSTIs are passed on through vaginal, oral and anal sex.

enlightenedMost STIs are passed on by sharing certain body fluids (semen, blood, vaginal fluid).

enlightenedSome STIs are passed on by genital skin-to-skin contact.

enlightenedMost STIs don't cause any symptoms, so many people don't realise they have one.

enlightenedThe only way you can be sure you don't have an STI is to have an STI test. 

enlightenedLeft untreated, STIs can cause serious long term health issues.

enlightenedSafer sex is about protecting yourself and your partners from STIs (and unintended pregnancy).


  • 1 piece of paper folded into 4. Write a small 'g' on the back corner of around 3 or 4 pieces. (Small pieces of paper that has been used on one side works well for this to disguise the 'g' on the back)
  • Butcher's paper and markers. 7 pieces made up with the following questions/statements: STIs are passed on by?; How do I know if I have an STI?; How are STIs treated?; What can happen if STIs are left untreated?; How can I reduce my risk of getting an STI?; How/where do I get an STI test?; Other interesting information.

  • Electronic or printed copies of SHQ's STI brochure - 1 per student.

  • Access to Get the Facts website.

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.


Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Related items

Guides FAQs

Before you get started

  • Protective interrupting - Teachers need to know and understand how to use this technique to prevent students form potentially disclosing sensitive information or abuse in front of other students.

  • Dealing with disclosures - Teachers must be aware of the school and legal procedures if a student discloses personal issues, particularly disclosures of sexual abuse.

  • Question box - Have a question box available in every lesson to allow students the opportunity to ask questions that may be too embarrassing or unsafe for them to ask openly in class. See Setting up the question box and Types of questions for further information. For ways to answer some of the curly questions, see Student FAQs.

  • Trauma informed teaching - Be aware of the possibility that student may have experiences of STIs, sexual violence or unintended pregnancy and content of this lesson may be triggering. Consider the timing of this lesson, liaise with school  health team in case additional support is required.

  • Refer to the Background teacher notes: STIs/BBVs, Respectful relationships and Safer sex and contraception.

Learning activities

Group agreement

Time to complete Group agreement: 5 min

yes Teaching tip: A group agreement must be established before any RSE program begins to ensure a safe learning environment. Read: Essential information: Establishing a group agreement for tips on how to create one and what to include.

  1. Revise the class group agreement.

For this lesson, it is important that students remember the agreement around confidentiality and de-identifying information if sharing a story.

Introduction: 4 squares (STI transmission exercise)

Time to complete Introduction: 4 squares (STI transmission exercise): 15 min

  1. Do not explain to students the purpose of this exercise. Present the task as an energiser or 'getting to now you'.

  2. Hand out the pre-prepared pieces of paper divided into 4 squares (i.e some pieces have 'g' written on the back to indicate use of glove).

  3. laugh Tell students to:

    • Find someone in the room who plays the same sport as you. 

    • Sign each other's piece of paper in one of the 4 spaces.

    1. Continue this activity until everyone has 4 people's signatures on their paper. You can't have the same person's name signed twice on your paper.

    • Ideas for questions. Someone who...

      •  likes/hates the same food as you

      • likes the same Netflix series as you

      • has a letter in their name the same as you

      • has the same colour socks on as you.

    1. Ask everyone to take their seats.

    2. Explain that this activity is actually to show how easily infections can spread. This infection is spread by signing your name.  It is a 'Signature Transmissible Infection'. Ask for a volunteer who is OK to pretend that they have an infection. 

yes Teaching tip: Use this as positive reinforcement for this young person being responsible for their health and going to get tested for an infection.

  1. laugh Say:

"(Student's name) has been to O-Day at Uni. They signed their name lots that day and they heard an advert from the WA Department of Health that said they only way to know for sure if you have the 'Signature Transmissible Infection' is to have a test. 

  1. laugh Say:

"If you have (Student's name) signed on your piece of paper, please stand up. You are all at risk of having the Signature Transmissible Infection."

  1. laugh Ask:

Student standing - how do you feel?

(Worried, angry, upset, not bothered, ambivalent)

yes Teaching tip: Some students may blame the person who 'gave it to them'. Use this as a teaching point to say that it is not possible to know if they GOT it from this person or if they GAVE it to this person. The person who got tested was looking after their health and doing the right thing of notifying their contacts.

  1.  Ask students to stand if they signed any of the papers of the students standing. And so on. Very quickly, most of the class will be standing.

  2. laugh Say:

"Turn your piece of paper over. If you have a 'g' written in the corner, you wore a glove when you signed your name. You are not at risk of the 'Signature Transmissible Infection'. You can sit down."

  1. laugh Ask:

Students sitting down because they wore a glove - how do you feel?

(relieved, proud of myself for being safe, not bothered, etc)

What do you think the 'Signature Transmissible Infection' represents?

(Sexually transmissible infection, STI, sexually transmissible disease)

yes Teaching tip: Explain that we don't use the term 'STD' (i.e. disease) anymore as not all infections cause disease, especially if treated early. 

What does the glove represent?

(condom or dam)

Thumb up/thumbs down quiz

Time to complete Thumb up/thumbs down quiz: 10 min

  1. Have students respond to the following statements using a thumbs up, thumbs down voting strategy and discuss their voting with someone close by. Clarify misconceptions as they appear. Stress that some of the statements are about their opinions while others have a correct and incorrect answer.

STIs are only passed on through vaginal and anal sex.

(False: some STIs can be passed on by oral sex and genital skin-to-skin contact.)

I would know if I had an STI because it would be painful or I would be able to see something.

(False: most people don't experience any symptoms from STIs or the symptoms can be so mild they don't notice)

You only need to wear a condom with someone who has had sex with lots of people.

(False: Anyone who has ever had vaginal, oral or anal sex can be at risk of an STI.)

STIs aren't very common, I'm not really at risk of getting one.

(False: STIs are very common, especially in young people 15-29 years. About 1 in 3 people will get an STI in their lifetime.)

STIs can be cured.

(True and false. All STIs can be treated and managed. Some can be cured but you can get them back again.)

There is a vaccine for STIs.

(True and false. There is a vaccine for HPV - the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer, and a vaccine for hepatitis B).

Graffiti walk

Time to complete Graffiti walk: 15 min

  1. Graffiti walk: Students use SHQ's STI brochure and Get the facts to add to posters around the room that say:

  • STIs are passed on by?

  • How do I know if I have an STI?

  • How are STIs treated?

  • What can happen if STIs are left untreated?

  • How can I reduce my risk of getting an STI?

  • How/where do I get an STI test?

  • Other interesting information.

  1. Discuss answers and address any misconceptions.

Reflection: Question box

Time to complete Reflection: Question box: 10 min

  1. Provide students with time to write questions for the question box. 

yes Teaching tip: Establishing a question box when starting any RSE program is useful to allow students to ask questions anonymously and have them answered in a safe environment. Read Essential information: Question box guide for how to set up the system and how to answer tricky questions. 

  1. If the question box is already set up, you may like to choose some questions related to the lesson to answer.
  1. Remind students of the 'Ask a question feature' on Get the Facts and the free STI testing

External related resources

The practical guide to love, sex and relationships 

A teaching resource from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.

Topic 1 - Introducing Love, Sex and Relationships

  • Ethical framework for love, sex and relationships
  • Decision making
  • Sexuality timeline- what it the average of: first sexual feelings, falling in love, identifying as gay/straight/bisexual, drinking alcohol, learning about sex at school, etc.

Topic 2 -  Love, etc

  • Elements of healthy relationships

Topic 3 - Sexual diversity

  • Words used for different sexual identities
  • Homophobia
  • Empathy building

Topic 4 – The truth about desire

  • What does it mean to ‘be sexual’
  • Gender stereotypes and sexual feelings

Topic 5 – When is the right time?

  • Factors that contribute to positive sexual experiences
  • Ethical relationships and ethical sex

Topic 6 – Comfort zones

  • Different ideals about what a sexual experience should be
  • Pressures and options

Topic 7 – Communication

  • Verbal  and no-verbal consent in sex
  • Checking in with your partner

Topic 8 – Consent and the law

  • Real-life scenarios for problem solving and decision-making
  • Sexual assault
  • Consent
  • Rights and responsibilities

Topic 9 – STIs – getting tested

  • Social issues and attitudes towards relationships and STIs
  • Managing sexual health
  • How to access services

Topic 10 – Can you get pregnant from…

  • Conception revision
  • Contraception choices, facts and stats
  • Real-life scenarios