Health Education

School-Based Prevention Education

Currently, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) administers the HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Program through grant funding secured from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The principle purpose of HIV prevention education is to promote healthful living and to establish and strengthen programs that prevent risk-behaviors among adolescents.  Prevention education is the most important weapon in the battle against HIV.  Through CDC grant funding, the Office of Healthy Schools, in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Health, provides training and materials to assist school health-related personnel implement age-appropriate HIV prevention education. Prevention education programs should be incorporated into the coordinated school health program.  Prevention education is incorporated into a more comprehensive school health education program that establishes a foundation for understanding the relationships between personal behavior and health.

Disease Prevention Policy

The adoption of sound policies and procedures are necessary to minimize or negate the fear and risks of conflict brought about by issues related to HIV and other infectious diseases. With assistance from a review committee of highly qualified individuals in health and education-related fields, the MDE has developed model communicable disease guidelines for Mississippi school districts to use in developing local disease prevention policies. The guidelines were based on the sample policy developed by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), Someone at School has AIDS: A Complete Guide to Education Policies Concerning HIV Infection, 2nd Edition.

Sound policies provide essential guidance for the school community. Local school district personnel must continually review and update existing policies to keep pace with the changing nature of HIV-related issues such as emerging new laws, scientific data, and lessons based on experience. To assist Local and State Education Agencies Guidelines for Effective School Health Education to Prevent the Spread of AIDS were developed to help school personnel and others plan, implement, and evaluate educational efforts to prevent HIV infection.


A CDC Priority: Reducing Teen Pregnancy and Promoting Health Equity Among Youth

Teen pregnancy prevention is one of CDC’s top six priorities, a “Winnable Battle” in public health and of paramount importance to health and quality of life for our youth. Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs typically address specific protective factors on the basis of knowledge, skills, beliefs, or attitudes related to teen pregnancy.

1. Knowledge of sexual issues, HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy (including methods of prevention).

2. Perception of HIV risk.

3. Personal values about sex and abstinence.

4. Attitudes toward condoms (pro and con).

5. Perception of peer norms and behavior about sex.

6. Individual ability to refuse sex and to use condoms.

7. Intent to abstain from sex, or limit number of partners. 

8. Communication with parents or other adults about sex, condoms, and contraception.

9. Individual ability to avoid HIV/STD risk and risk behaviors.

10. Avoidance of places and situations that might lead to sex.

11. Intent to use a condom.

CDC DASH Sexual Behaviors link:

From the United State’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

A bill to revise state sex education policies was passed March 16, 2011. Under the new law, school districts must begin teaching sex-related education by the end of June 2012. The state standard will continue to be abstinence-only, though districts can elect to adopt an “abstinence-plus” approach, which covers topics such as contraception. The new law, will require classes to be separated by gender, and schools also will be prohibited from instruction and/or demonstrating contraceptive use.

Approaches to Personal Responsibility Education
While the specifics of what is taught may vary, personal responsibility education is often described as presenting either an "abstinence-only" or abstinence plus or "comprehensive" message.

Abstinence education, refers to programs that promote abstinence-until-marriage as the expected standard of behavior. These programs provide students with information on building healthy relationships, the benefits of abstinence and the consequences of premarital sexual behavior.

Abstinence Plus education describes programs that encourages abstinence but includes information on contraception, and resources available for safer sex practices.

The purpose of personal responsibility or life skills education is to help students acquire factual knowledge; skills and attitudes, which help students attain a mature and responsible attitude toward human sexuality and will result in behavior that contributes to the well-being of the individual. Few school districts have adopted education policies that reflect an integrated approach to preventing HIV, STD, and unintended pregnancy. School districts may choose to develop a policy on life skills or personal responsibility education and present to their local school for approval.

By implementing policies schools can support and supplement parents' efforts in these areas by offering students factual information and opportunities to discuss concerns, issues and attitudes inherent in family life and sexual behavior. The school district may teach about life skills and personal responsibility education in regular courses on anatomy, physiology, health, home economics, science and so on. Any planned curriculum that includes instruction concerning human sexuality shall be based on scientifically-researched content standards in accordance with state law.

Mississippi School Board Association (MSBA) in collaboration with MDE Office of Healthy Schools has developed sample policies for school districts which can may be adapted for local school district use.  The following Abstinence-only and Abstinence-plus policies may also be found on the MSBA website.

Sample Policies

Sample Parental Consent Forms

Technical Assistance
For technical support or assistance with HB999 implementation, you may contact

State-Mandated Policy from other states (PDF)

  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey


Office of Healthy Schools     P.O. Box 771     Jackson, MS 39205-0771     Phone: (601) 359-1737     Fax: (601) 576-1417

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