Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)

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The purpose of PREP is to carry out evidence-based programs designed to educate adolescents on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is committed to promoting the healthy development of all children and adolescents in the state of Mississippi. Mississippi PREP envisions all Mississippi youth to have access to evidence-based, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education programs and resources, empowering adolescents to make safer reproductive health choices. Mississippi PREP carries out this vision by working with school districts, community-based organizations, and youth detention centers in counties that are in the most need of evidence-based sex education programs.

The Facts

  • 36% of Mississippi high school students say they have had sexual intercourse.
    2021 MS Youth Risk Behavior Survey
  • 53% of Mississippi high school students did not use a condom the last time they had sex.
    2021 MS Youth Risk Behavior Survey
  • Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school. Only about half receive a high school diploma. 76% of teen births are to older teens.
  • Mississippi had the highest rate of gonorrhea in the nation in 2021. More than half the cases of the diseases were among adolescents and young adults 15-24 years old.

Parents overwhelmingly support teaching sex-related education in Mississippi public schools.

A 2012 survey of parents by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy found that almost all parents (92%) think that comprehensive sex-related education should begin in middle school with a curriculum determined by public health professionals.

The Challenge

  • Mississippi had the 2nd highest teen birthrate in the United States in 2021.
  • Mississippi's teen birth rate (teens ages 15-19) was almost double the national average in 2022 (25.6 Mississippi births per 1,000 teens vs. 13.9 per 1,000 for the U.S.).
  • The children of teen mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school, and are at a greater risk of abuse and neglect.
  • Over the last decade Mississippi has seen a decline in teen pregnancies, but the state continues to have one of the highest rates of teen birth in the U.S.

Mississippi Teen Birth Rate (ages 15-19), 2009-2015

The Costs

  • Unintended pregnancy creates financial burdens for families and taxpayers.
  • About four-fifths of Mississippi's spending on teen births goes to mothers under the age of 18.
  • Teen childbearing in Mississippi cost taxpayers $155,000,000 in 2010.

Mothers under the age of 18 consume the majority of Mississippi's teen birth spending.

Data Sources

Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)
Office of Preventive Health
Mississippi State Department of Health
715 Pear Orchard Road
Ridgeland, MS 39157

Phone: 601-206-1559

Last reviewed on Mar 27, 2024 request edits

More topics

Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

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