58% of Mississippi high school students say they have had sex by the end of 12th grade, the second-highest percentage in the nation.1
Mississippi has the second-highest teen birth rate in the nation.2
38% of teen girls who have a child before age 18 get a high school diploma by age 22.3
Mississippi has the second-highest rates of both chlamydia and gonorrhea in the nation.4


Mississippi First supports comprehensive sex education—also known as “abstinence-plus” education—because it works.

National studies show that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have been woefully ineffective in reducing teen birth and sexually transmitted infection rates. Students that complete these programs are as likely as their peers to engage in sexual activity before marriage and are less likely to use contraceptives when they do become sexually active.

Conversely, comprehensive sex education programs can delay sexual initiation and reduce risky sexual behaviors, such as engaging in sex with multiple partners and having unprotected sex.

Read more about our policy position here.

Mississippi Sex Education Law

In 2011, the Mississippi Legislature passed a new sex education law mandating that schools adopt a sex education policy–either “abstinence-plus” or “abstinence-only”–by June 30, 2012. The new law also contains implementation requirements that all school districts must follow such as the separation of girls and boys for sex education classes and the requirement that parents “opt-in” their child for sex ed classes.

Read the new law, referred to as House Bill 999 (HB999).

Sex Education in Mississippi

Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens Initiative (CHART)

Information for administrators, teachers, and parents on how the CHART policy will be implemented in participating school districts.

Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil)

The Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil) is a group of dynamic youth activists from across Mississippi that support and promote high-quality comprehensive sexuality education and related polices that improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

Research, Data, and Reports

Teen health statistics and reports specific to Mississippi.

Evidence-Based Curricula

An evidence-based curriculum is one shown by rigorous research to be effective in causing one of four specific behaviors that reduce the risk of early pregnancy, STD, and HIV infection.

Health Organizations, Advocates, & Additional Online Resources

These organizations support comprehensive, or “abstinence-plus,” sex education policies and programs.

County-by-County Statistics

Learn about rates of teen birth and sexually transmitted infections as well as other relevant facts for all of Mississippi’s counties.

Sex Education Blog Posts

The Facts about How to Put on a Sock

January 29, 2015 by MacKenzie Stroh
Mississippi’s sex ed law, known as House Bill 999, prohibits condom demonstrations in classrooms. In 2012, Sanford Johnson, Deputy Director at Mississippi First, participated in a teacher training on the abstinence-plus curriculum Draw the Line/Respect the Line through Mississippi First’s work with CHART (Creating Healthy...

How to make the implementation of high-quality abstinence-plus programs easier for school districts

September 25, 2014 by MacKenzie Stroh
House Bill 999 (HB 999) mandated that all public school districts adopt a sexuality education policy starting the 2012-2013 school year. CHART is one of the policies that school districts can adopt to be in compliance with HB 999. Today, 28 school districts across Mississippi...

Mississippi First Launches Mississippi Youth Council, Calls for Applicants

April 7, 2014 by MacKenzie Stroh
Mississippi First is proud to announce the launch of the Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil). Members of MYCouncil take a grassroots approach to comprehensive sexuality education and other related sexual and reproductive health issues by mobilizing communities to speak out and get involved in an issue...

The Truth about Peppermint Pattie: The Real Story of Sex Ed in Mississippi

April 4, 2014 by MacKenzie Stroh
Dear Slate, Cosmopolitan, Wonkette, Salon, and others interested in the “Peppermint Pattie” story: We appreciate your sudden interest in our fight here in Mississippi to ensure that children get medically accurate, evidence-based, and age-appropriate sex education in their public schools. We are writing to tell...


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2012).  Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2011.  MMWR; 61(4).  Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6104.pdf.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Reports.  (2013).  Births: Final Data for 2011.  Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr62/nvsr62_01.pdf#table02.

3. National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. (2012). Why It Matters: Teen Childbearing, Education, and Economic WellBeing. Retrieved from http://thenationalcampaign.org/sites/default/files/resource-primary-download/childbearing-education-economicwellbeing.pdf.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). 2012 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats12/tables/14.htm (Gonorrhea) & http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats12/tables/3.htm (Chlamydia)