Reducing the Risk

Reducing the Risk (RTR) is a 16-session curriculum designed to help high school students delay the initiation of sex or increase the use of protection against pregnancy and STD/HIV if they choose to have sex. The major focus is the development of attitudes and skills that will help teens prevent pregnancy and the transmission of STD, including HIV. This research-proven approach addresses skills such as risk assessment, communication, decision making, planning, refusal strategies and delay tactics.


Class 1A—Abstinence, Sex and Protection: Pregnancy Prevention Emphasis
After an introduction to Reducing the Risk, the teacher models 2 versions of a role play to demonstrate refusal skills. Students participate in a 2-part “pregnancy risk” activity to personalize their vulnerability to pregnancy.
Class 1B—Abstinence, Sex and Protection: HIV Prevention Emphasis
After an introduction to Reducing the Risk, the teacher models 2 versions of a roleplay to demonstrate refusal skills to help prevent HIV. Students participate in a simulation that illustrates the increased risk of having multiple sexual partners and concurrent sexual partners.
Class 2—Abstinence: Not Having Sex
This class focuses on the advantages of abstinence. Reasons why teens fail to abstain or use protection are considered. Students also discuss elements of successful male/female communication about abstinence. They practice identifying successful elements of communication in the roleplay from Class 1.
Class 3—Refusals
Students discuss the parent homework assignment. The teacher introduces verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Students are provided with a demonstration of the social skills important to both abstaining and using protection. They examine and practice the 5 characteristics of effective refusals.
Class 4—Using Refusal Skills
Students focus on refusal skills and use roleplays to practice using these new skills in difficult situations.
Class 5—Delay Tactics
Students learn about delay tactics. They observe the teacher demonstrate and practice the skills in roleplay situations.
Class 6—Avoiding High-Risk Situations
Through a class discussion and a mini-lecture, students identify situations that can lead to unwanted or unprotected sex. They practice dealing with such situations in the activities and worksheets.
Class 7—Getting and Using Protection-I
Through lectures and visual aids, students learn information on methods for protection against unplanned pregnancy or STD.
Class 8—Getting and Using Protection-II
The teacher presents a lecture and does a condom demonstration. Students prepare to locate clinics in their area and make plans for contacting one to get information about protection. They then apply their knowledge about protection to decide which method(s) might be best for them. (Class options include inviting a guest speaker from a local clinic or taking a field trip to a local clinic.)
Class 9—Knowing and Talking About Protection: Skills Integration-I
Students practice the communication skills they’ve learned from earlier lessons on protection, birth control methods and clinic services. They take a quiz on protection methods, then watch roleplays in which friends talk to each other about issues related to sex. A discussion follows about ways to handle similar situations.
Class 10—Skills Integration-II
Students continue to practice the skills they are learning to help them say no and make decisions about protection. They perform partially scripted roleplays, then are presented with situations in which they must decide as a group how to handle difficult predicaments.
Class 11—Skills Integration-III
Students continue to practice handling situations that might otherwise lead to unprotected sex.
Class 12—Preventing HIV and Other STDs
Students work in small groups to explore information about transmission and prevention of 5 specific STDs. Groups compare the ways these STDs are transmitted, how they are prevented and how to get treatment. They then draw some conclusions about STD in general, including HIV.
Class 13—HIV Risk Behaviors
Students apply their knowledge about HIV transmission and identify which behaviors put them at greatest risk for exposure to HIV by participating in a continuum of risk activity.
Class 14—Implementing Protection from STD and Pregnancy
Students develop plans for preventing pregnancy and reducing the risk of STD, including HIV. They use a worksheet to plan what they would say and do to take steps toward protection. Then they use their plans to create the content in a roleplay activity.
Class 15—Sticking with Abstinence and Protection
Students discuss their experiences with the homework assignments that required them to find information about protection. Additionally, they discuss and practice the “self-talk” method to help them plan to avoid sex or unprotected sex, and then work on ways to stick with their plan.
Class 16—Skills Integration IV
Students extend skills learned for maintaining abstinence or avoiding unprotected intercourse through a discussion about sticking with choices. They practice with a final roleplay.