The AIDS Epidemic: Can It Be Stopped?

Hook | Questions | Procedures | Data Investigation | Analysis | Findings | New Questions

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Katie Kennedy Monique Nguyen Samantha Yorita


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See how if feels to live with AIDS

The HIV/AIDS Epidemic is still occurring today.  Currently medical research in finding a cure for AIDS have not progressed beyond prolonging HIV before it turns into AIDS.  Although we don’t see HIV/AIDS in the news today, it is still a problem around the world.  Many people feel that they are not at risk for contracting this disease, but it is important for individuals to realize that they may be at risk.  The first case of HIV/AIDS was diagnosed in the United States in the early 1980’s.  When will the last case be diagnosed?


These questions are intended to guide the students; however, they may have other questions on this topic.

Questions to ask the students:

1. What is HIV/AIDS?
2. Who is being affected?
3. What are the trends?
4. What will HIV/AIDS be like in the future?

More specific questions to ask the students:

1. Which gender is being affected more?
2. Is there a certain age that is being affected more?
3. Which race is being affected more?
4. Are the numbers of diagnosed cases increasing or decreasing?


After students have asked questions related to the topic, they will need to decide a number of things, including:

Type(s) of data needed to answer the questions
Defining important terms
Choosing tools for data manipulation
Defining how data will be manipulated and presented

Type(s) of data needed:

Number of AIDS cases diagnosed each year in the United States by gender, age, and race.

Defining important terms:

Trend Line: a graphical representation of a statistical trend or pattern.  For example, if deaths caused by AIDS are increasing every year, there will be a positive sloped line.

Investigative tools:

Students will be using spreadsheets (ex. Microsoft Excel) to make graphs, charts, and/or tables to predict the future trends of AIDS.

Manipulating data:

Students will find the number of AIDS cases for each gender, age, and race over the last 20 years.  Students will make tables and graphs for each category and calculate trend lines in order to predict the future number of AIDS cases.

Data Investigation

The web sites are provided to the students, but they are required to search within the web site for the data.  - General information on the AIDS epidemic.
  - Statistics by gender, age, and race.  - Statistics by race/ethnicity.

The students should display the information in a Excel Spreadsheet.


Raw data/information usually has to be manipulated before it can answer any questions.  Students might unaware of how data can best be manipulated, so teacher guidance may be appropriate.

This is an example of a basic graph students can make to represent one race/ethnicity.

The students can create a trendline.

Students can also graph all race/ethnicities together for comparison.


No result is meaningful unless communicated appropriately.  Discussion of findings should be supported.  There may or may not be definitive answers to the questions students raised.

The students will be able to predict the number of AIDS cases using a trendline for each race/ethnicity.

Students should be able to find other ways to graphically represent the data.  The students can make pie charts to be able to compare the percentage of AIDS cases for each race/ethnicity.

Possible New Questions

Has this inquiry got your students thinking?  What other questions are they asking?  What other projects or social action could stem from this project?

1. What other groups are being affected by AIDS?
2. How do you think the global trends compare to the trends in the United States?  Which country is affected
    the most?
3. What do you think you can do to help prevent the spread of AIDS?
4. Do you think AIDS will ever be eradicated?