Sex Education Policy: The Effect on Teen Pregnancy & STIs

Pregnancy test and birth control pills

In study after study, scientifically-based and medically-accurate sex education programs have been shown to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). But not all programs are created equal. In Mississippi, your school district’s sex education policy determines whether youth learn what they need to make smart decisions about their sexual health.

Life in the Time of COVID-19

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

At this point, many of us (including THMS staff members) are working from home, and times are scary right now. COVID-19 has us like: 

But here’s some good news: This too shall pass!  

In the meantime, many of us are working from home and largely avoiding going out in public. It’s been about two weeks, and I imagine many of us are going stir crazy. We here at Teen Health Mississippi may dedicate ourselves to getting youth access to high-quality sex education and youth-friendly healthcare, but we are also community-driven, and right now all of our communities need access to information to help us cope with what’s happening. Here are some tips and resources to keep you going during these tough times.

THMS Response to COVID-19

Photo by CDC on Unsplash.com

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency for the state of Mississippi regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  We are uncertain of the impact this virus will have on our communities in the long run, but are certain that this pandemic has immediate impacts on the health, economics, and mental and psycho-social well-being of the communities we serve.

Teen Health Mississippi is especially concerned about the safety and well-being of our staff, youth, communities, and partners that we counter across the state of Mississippi and beyond. At the same time, THMS is committed more than ever to our mission of ensuring youth have access to high-quality sex education and youth-friendly healthcare services.

Title X Gag Rule: What It Means for Mississippi Youth

The Title X Family Planning Program is a federal grant program that provides family planning and preventive healthcare, like breast and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, birth control, and pregnancy services. In February 2019, the Trump Administration announced a Title X Gag Rule that has concerning implications on the program.

Prep Talk for the Sex Talk

by Fibiana Oladipo

I wondered how to start this blog for the past few days. It is weird in the sense that I am trying to educate readers about a predicament that is common for many people. Still, I am oblivious to a topic like this simply because I have no expertise in an area as gripping as discussing sex. However, I can share with you what I would do if I wanted to talk to my parents about sexual health.

What It Means to Be a Teen LGBT Ally—And How You Can Be One, Too

Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

by Leslyn Smith

All it takes is a little love and support to protect the lives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. LGBT+ youth are three times more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives.

Merriam-Webster defines an ally as one that is associated with another as a helper; a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle. In simpler terms, an ally is someone on your side and has your back. An ally doesn’t have to share your same experience, but they can still be supportive of your plight.

Three Stigmas about Contraceptives that You Should Cancel in 2020

Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash

by Kimberly Travis

Contraceptive use is not a sign of a man’s masculinity or a woman’s promiscuity. However, contraceptives are still taboo topics in the 21st century, especially in Mississippi. Growing up in Yazoo City, Mississippi, I learned many stigmas about what girls should and should not do, but there were a few things that I had to cancel, and in 2020, I hope you will, too.

A Year of Impact: 2019 Annual Report

This year might have been our first as a standalone nonprofit, but Teen Health Mississippi hit the ground running—literally. We traveled more than 20,000 miles to conferences, events, and 130+ trainings. Our team also continued to develop programs that cross areas such as capacity building, parent trainings, and youth-friendly healthcare, plus we awarded five subgrantees to a youth council and youth-serving organizations across the state.

And that’s not all! We invite you to read the full 2019 Annual Report to see how Teen Health Mississippi is championing teens and adults who want to improve sexual health education, training, and policy.

If You Wanna Be My Lover, You Gotta Have My Consent

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

by Kelly Bates

Sex isn’t sexy without consent. Recent movements like #MeToo and #ItStopsNow advocate for consent strongly, but what does consent look like,  and what part do you play? Sexual consent is quite simple: It is when two people mutually agree to participate in some form of sex without outside influence. That agreement can look different to different people, but consent is expressed affirmatively through clear words or actions. An enthusiastic “Yes!,” or the lack thereof, is the best way to tell whether or not an act is consensual.