Rates of STIs and pregnancy among Mississippi teenagers are consistently among the highest in the nation. Compounding the problem, the state’s sex education policy omits meaningful information regarding birth control and STI prevention. The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi took up the responsibility of ensuring Mississippi teens had access to medically accurate sexual health information.
Mississippi teenagers were in desperate need of information regarding sexual health. But to make a meaningful impact, the information needed to be delivered to them in a manner that felt genuine yet factual, nonjudgmental and respectful of their privacy.
Through interviews with Mississippi teenagers and sexual health nurses, we identified prevalent sexual health myths as well as insights into teenagers’ opinions and sensibilities. We then launched Fact Not Fiction to dispel these myths head on while appealing to teens’ desire for more information. The digital sex ed endeavor included a website with easy-to-navigate information, an anonymous “ask the expert” portal and a local health clinic finder. But FNF truly came to life via ongoing original social media content, including timely GIFs, the “Will it fit?” challenge and the boldly educational “Fact Check” video series. As teens’ social media preferences migrated across platforms (and away from parents), FNF stayed on-trend and on target.