Program Teaches Teens The Dangers Of Sex

The statistics are startling. Despite the fact Mississippi has made big strides in reducing its teenage pregnancy rate over the past two years, the magnolia state has one of the highest rates in the nation.

In the year 2000, more than 8,000 teenagers became moms in Mississippi, and 144 of those were in Pearl River County.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services hopes its new "abstinence program" presented at Picayune High School on Wednesday will help bring down the number of teens becoming pregnant.

"If you've already engaged in sex, you still can say no to sex," abstinence educator Tasha Martin said. "There's nothing wrong with saying no to sex."

The goal of this abstinence lesson is for the presenters to talk frankly with students.

"Some people you're sitting around now attend health clinics, and you all have no idea they go to these health clinics cause they have some type of sexually transmitted disease," abstinence educator Quency Coleman said.

Coleman got the students' attention with some hard facts.

"One out of every four of you all that are sexually active with multiple partners has HIV virus. One out of every four has HIV virus. There are consequences to everything you all do. Everything you do something has got to come back to you."

The hour-long program seemed to reach the students.

"It made me realize that sex isn't the best way to go," 10th grader Jamarl Breland said.

"I have a lot of friends that are having sex, and it really got to me because they're not really thinking about it," ninth grader Kayla McDougle said.

"Teenagers, we hear 'don't have sex, don't have sex,' but that's all we hear," ninth grader Chase Porter said. "We never actually hear statistics to back up the fact 'we shouldn't have sex.' and here they come out with one of every four people you're sitting by in this room has a sexually transmitted disease, and it shocks."

Abstinence educators say that's the whole idea.

By Al Showers