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Bruce Cook – President & Founder of Choosing the Best
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Atlanta, June 29, 2016 — The CDC’s recent release of the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance indicated that youth across the U.S. are now less likely to have sex than they were 20 years ago. In fact, today nearly 60% of high school students nationwide have not had sex, an increase of 28% since 1991.1

This same report also indicated some promising statewide trends. One of the top states in terms of increasing the percentage of teens who have never had sex is Mississippi, especially in recent years. In 2011, the state legislature mandated that all public schools select and implement a sex education program emphasizing abstinence, also referred to as sexual risk avoidance education. The sex education programs in Mississippi were allowed to discuss contraception, but only in the context of abstinence as the healthiest choice. Since this law was implemented, the percentage of Mississippi high school students who have never had sex has increased 24%, an exceptional result that is double the national average during that same time period.2

Since the 2011 legislation, nearly 2/3 of all Mississippi public school districts selected Choosing the Best abstinence-centered sex education programs for implementation in their schools and community-based after-school programs such as Boys & Girls Clubs. Says Thomas Norman, Executive Director of the Mississippi Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, “Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the state have been implementing the Choosing the Best curriculum in their after-school and summer programs since 2011. Through this program, we’ve recognized a significant gain in participants’ understanding of making positive choices for a better and brighter future.”

This increase in the percentage of teens who are not having sex is significant for Mississippi and teens nationwide. When teens delay having sex, they improve their chances for other positive outcomes in their lives. Compelling social science research correlates sexual delay among teens with an impressive list of social, health, and economic advantages. This includes an increased likelihood for school success, healthier relationships, and better economic futures, in addition to the obvious advantage of avoiding teen pregnancy and STDs.

Mary Anne Mosack, National Director for State Initiatives from Ascend, remarked: “Mississippi is a uniquely compelling case study on the success of the sexual risk avoidance [abstinence-centered] education approach. No other state has mandated this type of education in every school. After only four years, the results are extraordinarily impressive. The Mississippi model is worth replicating more broadly.”

For more information, contact Marcia Papst at Choosing the Best, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-800-774-BEST.

1 CDC, Youth Risk Surveillance Survey, United States, 2015
2 Ibid.