Digging Into Women’s Health Issues in Mississippi

March 11, 2024


Women’s History Month brings important attention to the health challenges faced by women and girls everywhere. At Fact Not Fiction, our mission is to make facts and education about sex easier to access so teens and young adults can make more informed decisions about their health. In this article, we’re digging into some of the challenges women and teens face when it comes to staying safe (while also offering solutions!).


Healthcare Deserts

According to a 2022 report from March of Dimes, more than half of the counties in Mississippi are considered healthcare deserts. A healthcare desert is an area within a county or state where residents lack access to pharmacies, hospitals, health centers, or other health providers. This can make it harder for women, especially those with low income or from marginalized communities, to get proper health screenings or access birth control, contributing to increased rates of unwanted pregnancy and STIs.

Fortunately, there are resources you can use to get the care you need. FNF has an online clinic finder with a search tool you can use to see what clinics are in your area. 

If a clinic is too far away, you can get birth control mailed to your house using Twentyeight Health’s online services (available for people aged 13 to 49). If you’re over the age of 18, you can fill out their online survey, meet with a provider to review your prescription or write a new one, and get your BC mailed to you within 3-5 business days. 

If you’re under the age of 18, you’ll need to first get your parent’s consent as part of Mississippi’s state law requirements and then follow the same steps to get your BC. 

Stigmatizing Culture

Why is there such an “ick” around talking about sex? Why do some women feel shame when talking about their sexual experiences with a partner or doctor? Well, thank purity culture for that. 

We’ve discussed purity culture in our post about teen pregnancy (highly recommended!), but it’s worth mentioning again. Purity culture stems from a set of cultural beliefs that emphasize abstinence before marriage, resulting in more emphasis on abstinence-only education. Comprehensive, fact-based sex education is so important in changing this culture because it opens the door for dialogue and genuine understanding. 

When people have a better understanding of sex, contraception, and their own bodies, they are less likely to stigmatize. Plus, this kind of sex ed gives teens the tools they need to stay safe and make more informed decisions. Because the fact is–Mississippi teens are having sex! 

Here are some findings from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The Mississippi teens surveyed were between the ages of 14 and 18: 

  • Over 36% of surveyed teens had already had sex once in their lifetime
  • 24% were sexually active (by the survey’s definition: had sexual intercourse with at least one person, during the 3 months before the survey). 
  • Of those sexually active: 
    • 81% did not use birth control prior to sex, and 53% did not use condoms.
  • Over 90% of teens had not been tested for STDs during the year prior to completing the survey.

Healthier Teens Make a Healthier Mississippi

The fact is: healthier teens create a healthier state. Raising awareness around the barriers to care creates a plan of action we can all implement for the benefit of Mississippi women. 

Feeling motivated to learn more and get started on your health goals? Check out our expert’s answers and debunked sex myths to get started.

Digging Into Women’s Health Issues in Mississippi - Fact Not Fiction