Lesson Plans

HIV/AIDS in Haiti: The Prison


Haiti National Penitentiary

Dr. John May

Inside Haiti's prison

Anticipatory Set:

1. Distribute the blank maps of the Caribbean (map here).

  • Ask the students to label Haiti.
  • Project a map or use a pull-down map to illustrate the location of Haiti.
  • Discuss what the students notice (e.g. proximity to the U.S., size, general location)


1. Opinion spectrum “Take A Stand”

  • On the board write, “I believe people incarcerated for committing a crime have the same right to health care as those in the neighboring community.”
  • On one end of the board write “Strongly Agree” and on the other end of the board write “Strongly Disagree”. Write “neutral” between the two ends of the spectrum.
  • Explain to the students that they are going to “take a stand” on the statement on the board. They are going to take a place on the spectrum (creating a human opinion spectrum).
  • After everyone puts themselves on the spectrum ask students at various points on the spectrum about their “stand.”
  • Have students return to their seats.

2. Distribute the Barton article on Dr. May (Resource 1) and the discussion questions.

  • Allow the students 10–15 minutes to read the article.
  • After reading, have the students put their desks in a circle and begin the discussion


  • Interactive Site: Heroes of HIV
  • The last resource is the HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean Gateway from the Pulitzer Center if you would like to find more resources.
Educator Notes: 

This lesson is written as a set of instructions for teachers. Facilitation tips and resources are written into the student instructions. If you have questions about this lesson, contact education@pulitzercenter.org.

In this lesson, students will participate in a class discussion using the articles by Anitgone Barton focusing on the work of Dr. John May. Students will discuss the physician’s creed “Primo no nocere” (first do no harm) as it applies to prisoners incarcerated in the national penitentiary in Haiti. Students will also discuss why U.S. citizens should care about conditions in Haiti’s penitentiary.

    Lesson Created by Liz Morrison. Liz Morrison is the coordinator of social studies for the Parkway School District located in west St. Louis County. In 2001 Liz was selected as the National Council for the Social Studies Secondary Teacher of the Year. Liz was the featured guest on Talk of the Nation in September of 2002 regarding teaching 9/11 and other “hot topics” in public high schools. In addition, Liz Morrison’s work with controversial issues in the classroom was featured in the Annenberg program “Social Studies in Action.”

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