Examining Fear-Based Methods in STI Prevention

By Kirsten deFur, MPH


By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

1. List at least two characteristics of fear-based teaching methods.

2. Describe at least one example of a fear-based method used to teach about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

3. Identify at least one effective way to teach about the prevention of STIs without relying on fear.


In many educational settings, instructors employ fear-based educational methods in order to teach young people about STIs. There are distinct disadvantages to using fear to prevent STIs and it is important for young people to be able to decipher these messages on their own. This lesson aims to help participants reflect on their own past fear-based “learning” experiences. They also critically examine a current example of a fear-based activity, so they can readily identify scare tactics and help others to do so as well.

Note: This lesson might serve as a training model for professionals who work with young people. It could also be used for a college-level or higher course, examining the socio-cultural context in which people learn sexuality education.

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