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The Science and Ethics of HIV Vaccine Research


Engage students in thinking about scientific and ethical issues related to HIV vaccine trials and global health. Receive an NIH-funded 5-lesson unit on CD and compiled in a binder.


This workshop will introduce a standards-based curriculum unit that brings issues related to the science and ethics of HIV vaccine trials into high school classrooms.

The lessons included in the unit address student misconceptions about HIV and vaccine trials, examine HIV structural biology, and explore vaccine types.  Using historical case studies, students develop ethical principles to guide human research and then compare them to existing standards.  A hands-on activity encourages students to think about the allocation of health resources, cultural differences, and other factors impacting HIV research globally.  The culminating assessment asks students to create a vaccine strategy using their understanding of HIV and propose a research protocol for testing.  The curriculum provides both sound scientific information and tools for well-considered ethical reasoning.


Click here to view the standards this curriculum covers for the Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System (SAS)


Questions or want to schedule a workshop?  Please contact Lisa Cassaro, PSBR Program Assistant, at 717-731-3559 or


These materials were developed by classroom teachers in conjunction with scientists, ethicists and partners at the University of Washington (School of Education).  Funding was provided by a NIH Science Education Partnership Award grant.