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Media Contact: 

Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, Office: (919) 226-1880, Cell: (919) 749-7309 

This October SHIFT NC Sponsors ‘Let’s Talk Month’ To Encourage Parent/Child Communication About Sexual Health

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DURHAM, N.C. (October 3, 2016) – Parents can be the first and most important sexual health educators in their children’s lives. However, not all parents are comfortable with or have the resources to discuss sexual health with their children. SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) is sponsoring ‘Let’s Talk Month’ this October as an opportunity for parents and children to learn to better communicate in an open and honest manner about sexual health. 

“At SHIFT NC, we believe parents want to talk to their children about sex, but many parents don’t always know where to start,” said Janeen Gingrich, Interim CEO at SHIFT NC. “Let’s Talk Month is designed to support parents in becoming an "askable’ parent and a powerful influence on their children’s lifelong health.”

Celebrated every October, ‘Let's Talk Month’ is a national public education campaign to help parents and their children navigate a path to a healthy life where young people can make healthy and responsible decisions around sex. ‘Let’s Talk Month’ equips parents with facts, advice and tips so parents can take advantage of the teachable moments that occur every day. Watching a TV show, the birth of a child, or listening to a favorite hit song are all moments parents and their children can use to discuss sexuality and reinforce the family’s values or beliefs.

Not only is ‘Let’s Talk Month’ helpful to parents about speaking with their children about sexual health, but it also encourages youth to feel more comfortable about bringing up the topic with their parents on their own. In order for young people to make healthy choices about sex, they have the right to open and honest, age-appropriate information and to have a trusted adult that they can talk to. Studies show that youth whose parents are open and comfortable about sex were less prone to engage in sexual risk behavior.

SHIFT NC has created brochures, posters and other resource materials for community use. All materials are available for download at SHIFT NC’s website ( In addition, throughout the month of October, SHIFT NC will post quick tips on how to be an “askable” parent and other facts on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Parents and their children are encouraged to join the conversation using the hash tag #LetsTalkMonth.

SHIFT NC Names Janeen Gingrich as Interim CEO

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SHIFT NC announced today that longtime community leader and nonprofit champion, Janeen Gingrich, has been appointed interim CEO, effective September 1, 2016. Prior to her appointment, SHIFT NC Board of Directors Chair Craig Wagner temporarily served in the role of interim CEO.

“Janeen’s extensive experience in the non-profit sector at multiple equity- and access-driven organizations at the local, statewide and international level brings a unique perspective to the SHIFT NC environment. She has had a truly multi-faceted career journey,” said Craig Wagner, Board Chair. “I am excited to work with Janeen as we continue to make significant steps to improve adolescent and young adult sexual health, and to deliver high quality, meaningful support to youth-serving partners.”

Janeen joins SHIFT NC with over 20 years of nonprofit experience in development, program direction, technical assistance, and strategic partnerships. She has spent the past 14 years focused on advancement work for non-profits, with an emphasis on capacity building and organizational development. Her expertise includes annual campaign development, foundation relations, strategic partnership development, and board and staff development.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help provide operational support as staff and board carry on the organization’s strategic initiatives to help all young people grow up healthy,” she said. “We will continue executing SHIFT NC’s strategic plan to improve adolescent health across the state.”

During this interim period, the Board of Directors will assess the permanent leadership needs of the organization to help ensure the selection of a qualified and capable leader who is representative of the community; a good fit for the organization’s mission, vision, values, goals and objectives; and has the necessary skills for the organization.

"We are confident that Janeen will ensure the stability and accountability of the organization until new permanent leadership is identified,” added Wagner.

SHIFT NC hosts Statewide Adolescent Sexual Health Conference May 11-13, 2016

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Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Propelling Adolescent Sexual Health Forward

RALEIGH, N.C. – SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) will host North Carolina’s only conference on adolescent sexual health, Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Propelling Adolescent Sexual Health Forward, on May 11-13, 2016, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center in Durham, N.C.

Committed to helping communities serve young people in safe, effective, and age-appropriate ways, SHIFT NC hosts this annual conference to empower North Carolina’s professionals to support healthy development by focusing on sexual health topics like teen pregnancy and HIV prevention. Communities often struggle to address sexual health issues, and treat them as hushed or forbidden. However, sexual health is a part of overall health, and communities need tools to support it. Investing in young people’s sexual health benefits them, our state, and our communities now and in the future.

Dr. Karen Rayne will address the critical topic of parent-child communications during the event’s plenary session. Author of the recently released “Breaking the Hush Factor: Ten Rules for Talking to Teenagers about Sex,” Rayne will explore what happens when parents and teens talk about sex and address the importance of the adult’s approach to those conversations. Her book is designed to support all adults as they interact with young people grappling with their emerging understanding of identity and sexuality.

“We are excited to bring together top national experts on teen health with professionals from across North Carolina to share what works and what's next for youth,” said Kay Phillips, chief executive officer at SHIFT NC. “Our goal is to share current research and provide tools to professionals so they can make the small steps and giant leaps their community needs to help young people grow up healthy.”  

Conference attendees will participate in more than 25 sessions that provide up-to-date, real-world information on program implementation, access to sexual health care services, partnership and collaboration, emerging trends and using data, advocacy, and leadership and organizational development. For the first time, a poster session celebrating some of the latest adolescent health research happening in North Carolina will be included.

Other keynote speakers include: K.Solomon Masala and the Drum Cafe, who will bring an interactive session to explore leadership develop, community-building, and motivation; and nationally renowned comedian and advocate Sam Killerman, who will address the importance of advocating for all teen voices and the need to remove shame from conversations about health and wellness.

Abigail English, J.D., Director at the Center for Adolescent Health and the Law, and Jill D. Moore, MPH, J.D., Associate Profession of Public Law and Government at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Government will present a pre-conference session on Legal Issues in Adolescent Health Care. The session will address laws affecting adolescent health care, with an emphasis on consent to health care, confidentiality of health information, and special considerations with adolescent populations.

SHIFT NC will close the conference with an awards ceremony to honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact on adolescent health in the past year. 2016 award recipients include:

  • El Pueblo, Inc. of Raleigh, Time Out Youth of Charlotte, and Jen Przewoznik of the statewide organization, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NC CASA), will receive SHIFT NC Impact Awards. Impact Awards recognize a significant contribution to adolescent sexual health in the past year.
  • N.C. Senator Tommy Tucker will receive the Nick Jeralds Award, which honors the late Representative Luther “Nick” Jeralds and recognizes a sitting legislator’s contribution to teen pregnancy prevention.
  • Donna Breitenstein, director of the North Carolina School Health Training Center at Appalachian State University, will receive this year’s Barbara Huberman Award for Bravery. Named for SHIFT NC’s founder and a mainstay in the field of adolescent health, the award recognizes a brave and steadfast commitment to adolescent sexual health through a body of work or notable act.

MEDIA CONTACT: Krista Park Berry, (919) 810-4511 (mobile) or (919) 226-1880 x 122 (office)


North Carolina Teen Pregnancies Hit Record Low for 7th Consecutive Year

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State achieves 2020 teen pregnancy goal 6 years early

DURHAM, N.C. (January 26, 2016) – North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate fell 8% in 2014, hitting a record low for a 7th consecutive year, according to new data provided by the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics and released by SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens). Statewide, 10,328 girls ages 15-19 experienced a pregnancy in 2014.

The 2014 teen pregnancy rate was 32.3 per 1,000 15-19-year-old girls. In other words, the newly released data shows that only 3.2% of 15-19-year-old girls in North Carolina experienced a pregnancy in 2014.

Other highlights from the newly released data include:

  • Reduced pregnancies among girls of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, helping to minimize some historical disparities. Pregnancies to white, black, and Hispanic teens dropped 7%, 11% and 9%, respectively.  
  • 75% of counties saw teen pregnancy decrease in 2014.
  • North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate is 69% lower than when it peaked in 1990 at a rate of 105.4 per 1,000 girls ages 15-19. 

Nationwide, researchers have attributed teen pregnancy declines to increased use of birth control, the availability of highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like IUDs and the Implant, and a slight increase in the average age when teens first engage in sexual intercourse.  North Carolina communities have focused on facilitating these trends.

State Exceeds Teen Pregnancy Goal

The newly released teen pregnancy rates show that North Carolina has exceeded a goal it set to reduce teen pregnancy 30% between 2010 and 2020. Between 2010 and 2014, the state reduced teen pregnancy rates by 35%. The goal was created by a statewide team of experts and advocates, and endorsed by more than 65 groups.

“North Carolina has made a lot of smart decisions about how to help young people grow up healthy,” said SHIFT NC CEO Kay Phillips. “This remarkable achievement is the result of a lot of combined effort – whether it’s improving health education with the 2009 Healthy Youth Act or one of the many local initiatives designed to connect young people to information, healthcare, and support.”

Local Initiatives Build on New Lessons Learned

Local communities have increasingly focused on using evidence-based approaches to address teen pregnancy, and have built on each other’s lessons learned. The Gaston Youth Connected initiative, which launched in 2010 and ended in 2015, used a multi-pronged approach to reduce teen pregnancies by nearly 40% and closed the historical gap between white and African American teen pregnancy rates. The initiative, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and managed by SHIFT NC, focused on implementing evidence-based health education programs, improving the teen-friendliness of health services, helping teens access health care, and mobilizing community support for teen pregnancy prevention.

At least four newly launched initiatives are building on lessons learned from the Gaston Youth Connected initiative. The NC Youth Connected will replicate Gaston Youth Connected in Cumberland and Onslow Counties. Fully funded by the federal Office of Adolescent Health, NC Youth Connected builds on an early investment by the Duke Endowment to mobilize Onslow County leaders to act on teen pregnancy.  In Greensboro, the Cone Health Foundation is working to improve healthcare services and access for teens, focusing specifically on increasing the use of LARCs. Every Teen Counts, a new SHIFT NC initiative, will build the capacity of foster care agencies and juvenile detention centers to provide trauma-informed pregnancy prevention services in northeastern North Carolina.

“There is no single solution to helping a young person avoid an unplanned pregnancy,” said Phillips. “Helping communities use proven strategies in education and healthcare – all while engaging community leaders, parents, and teens themselves – that is how we can continue to see our teen pregnancy rates decline.”

Additional Resources:

Snapshot of North Carolina Data

Data for Each North Carolina County

Historical Data

NC State Center for Health Statistics


SHIFT NC Awarded 5-Year Federal Grant to Improve Health Services for Durham Teens

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Funding will help local providers become teen-friendly and boost pregnancy prevention services

SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) has been awarded a 5-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help Durham, N.C., health centers improve services for teens. The funding will help launch a new initiative called All Together Now: Making Health and Referral Systems Work for Young People.

Through the newly funded initiative, SHIFT NC will provide Durham’s publicly funded health centers with training, technical assistance, and coaching to help improve the accessibility, quality, and youth friendliness of sexual and reproductive health services. The initiative will also help health providers implement recommendations by leading medical organizations to help teens access the most effective contraceptive methods, IUDs and Implants. In addition, the initiative will help local organizations and agencies develop strong linking and referral networks to help youth find the health services they need.

Studies show that young people face very specific barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care. These barriers – which can include privacy fears, trouble navigating complex health systems, or misinformation about contraceptive methods – often lead youth to forgo important care such as pregnancy prevention services or testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).   

The initiative builds on key lessons from the Contraceptive CHOICE Project from Washington University in St. Louis and Colorado’s highly successful teen pregnancy program, which reduced teen pregnancies 40% in 5 years.

SHIFT NC was one of only three organizations awarded this highly competitive funding. The application was crafted by a broad coalition of partners, including the Durham County Department of Public Health, Lincoln Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, the Duke University Division of Community Medicine, and more than a dozen agencies and nonprofit organizations.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, (919) 749-7309 (mobile) or (919) 226-1880 (office)

Quick Facts: Adolescent Sexual Health in Durham

Like state and national rates, Durham’s teen pregnancy rate has fallen in recent years. However, Durham youth still struggle with sexual health outcomes:

  • Durham’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than the state’s teen pregnancy rate, and illustrates strong racial/ethnic disparities:


Teen pregnancy rate

(per 1,000 15-19 year old girls)

Number of teen pregnancies

North Carolina



Durham County













  • Durham’s Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are 60% and 80% higher than state rates, respectively.
  • Durham has the 4th highest HIV burden of North Carolina’s 100 counties. 

North Carolina Awarded Prestigious Federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grants

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The federal Office of Adolescent Health has announced seven new grant awards to serve North Carolina youth. The projects are part of a series of competitively funded projects awarded nationwide, and are aimed at curbing teen pregnancies over the next five years.

SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) received funds for two new initiatives serving 11 counties:

  • Every Teen Counts will boost service providers’ capacity to implement trauma-informed, evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs for youth in foster care and youth in juvenile detention centers in nine counties in northeastern North Carolina, including Bertie, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Nash, Northampton, Vance, Warren, and Wilson Counties.

These two initiatives are largely built on lessons-learned through the Gaston Youth Connected Initiative, SHIFT NC’s community-wide initiative in Gaston County, funded by the Office of Adolescent Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2010 through September 2015. That initiative cut teen pregnancy rates by nearly 40% in just three years.

Other North Carolina Projects

Five additional organizations were awarded grants to address teen pregnancy in North Carolina. The NC Department of Health and Human Services was awarded funds to implement a community-wide teen pregnancy initiative in Edgecombe, Richmond, and Graham Counties.  In addition, four groups were awarded prestigious grants to rigorously evaluate promising programs, including:

  • The Center for Supportive Schools will test a school-based peer education program for high school students in Bertie, Scotland, and Duplin Counties.
  • The Children’s Home Society received an award to evaluate Wise Guys for young men in grades 7 through 9 in Iredell-Statesville Schools.
  • The Cabarrus Health Alliance will evaluate Taking Responsible Actions in Life (TRAIL), a school-based intervention for 9th graders in Cabarrus County.
  • New Orleans-based Policy and Research, LLC will evaluate Trauma Informed Approach for Adolescent Sexual Health (TIAASH), and intensive, trauma-informed counseling intervention for foster care youth in out-of-home care at Barium Springs.

View the full list of awardees on the Office of Adolescent Health's website. 

Congratulations to everyone funded! These initiatives keep North Carolina on the cutting edge of our field, and help make North Carolina a place where young people grow up healthy! 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, (919) 749-7309 (mobile) or (919) 226-1880 (office)

The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina is becoming SHIFT NC

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The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) announced today that it is expanding its mission and changing its name to SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens). The announcement was made at an annual conference of more than 250 teen pregnancy prevention advocates in Greensboro, N.C.

For 30 years, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) has been North Carolina’s leader in adolescent pregnancy prevention, and works with communities, educators, clinicians, and families to adopt evidence-based approaches to teen pregnancy prevention.  The state’s teen pregnancy rate has dropped 67% since the early 1990s.

As SHIFT NC, the organization will expand its mission to, “Leading North Carolina to improve adolescent and young adult sexual health.” SHIFT NC will continue to use evidence-based and best practice strategies to improve health, but will expand its scope to include adolescent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and STIs, sexuality, development, and relationships.


A copy of the announcement is included below:

Announcement of Name and Mission Change

Delivered by Kay Phillips, CEO

May 21, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Koury Center, Greensboro, NC

I want to tell a story that you’ve all probably heard me tell before. Barbara Huberman was a nurse – a cutting edge labor and delivery nurse in Charlotte and one of the state’s very first Lamaze coaches. She delivered thousands of babies, including many to younger women. One day, she helped deliver a baby to a girl who was only 10. Her parents had dropped her at the hospital, and left her alone. The girl had very little idea what was happening. And as Barbara watched her in recovery – coloring in a coloring book while her baby slept in the bassinet next to her – Barbara thought, “This has to change.”  Barbara took that, and she used it to build something: A task force that would become the nonprofit that we now call the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina. She also inspired a movement. She inspired people – educators, politicians, parents, doctors, teens, and community leaders – to talk about pregnancy, to talk about sex, and to actually do something about an issue that had always been hush-hush. Last year, just a day after we wrapped up conference, we lost Barbara after a long fight against leukemia. But we haven’t lost her legacy or her spirit or her momentum.


When Barbara started our organization in 1985 – teen pregnancy rates were high and they were growing. Nearly 25,000 teen girls got pregnant in our state that year. But we’ve things turned around. Teen pregnancy is down 67% in the last two decades and we are so proud – not just of the work that we've done as an agency but of the work we have all done together.


And you have done a lot of work! Some of you have implemented evidence-based programs; or you’re teaching the comprehensive sex ed in school that we fought so hard to get when we worked to pass the Healthy Youth Act; some of you provide support for young families; some of you are linking teens to the care they need; some of you are on the leading edge – providing the most effective methods of birth control to teens; some of you are doing all of the above. It’s made a huge impact – on our state, in our communities, and – most importantly – in the lives of the young people who live, learn, and grow here.


In 2010, we pulled together a team to create a state goal for reducing teen pregnancy. That team crunched the numbers, looked at the work being done, talked about the possibilities, and ultimately set a goal to reduce teen pregnancy 30% by 2020. Today, I have a big announcement: We’re there-ish. We set out to reduce teen pregnancy 30% in 10 years. We reduced it 29.97% in just three years. That’s amazing.


But we’re not done yet. We know that the Healthy Youth Act has been implemented better in some places than in others. We know that young people still need access to care and our state needs more teen-friendly health care providers. And we know that we need to address some of our most serious disparities with precision efforts to get more resources to pockets of very high-risk teens. But that’s not all we need…


Today, I'm announcing a change.  Some of you have heard rumblings of this; some of you have been involved in this process for more than a year now. We've been listening to you and what we've heard is that you are your community’s point person for adolescent sexual health – that you have far more on your plate than pregnancy prevention; that you’re the HIV person; that you're the person standing up for safe and supportive places for LGBTQ youth; that you're the person who talks about relationships and puberty and whatever sex question a teen can throw your way… And we know you need support. Over the last few years, we’ve worked to do that, but it’s time for us to get a little more intentional about it.


So we're changing our mission.  Our new mission is “To lead North Carolina to improve adolescent and young adult sexual health”.  We are expanding our scope to include pregnancy, HIV and STIs, relationships, sexuality, healthy development, and, through all of it, access to care. Our methods won’t change; we’re just broadening our vision to make a more comprehensive impact on young people’s health.


We are also changing our name. Today I am very excited to announce along with our staff and our board that we are becoming SHIFT NC, which stands for Sexual Health Initiatives for Teens.


This is not a new beginning for us; we are building on a legacy of success. Nor is this a destination; we have a lot of work to do both on teen pregnancy and on other sexual health issues. Over the next year, we’ll be doing a lot of listening to see how we can be supportive of you and of the young people in your community. We need you to bear with us a little bit for the next month or so, because all the moving pieces of a name change can get tricky. But, ultimately, we look forward to working with you for the next 30 years so that every young person in North Carolina grows up healthy. 

RFP: Seeking Proposals for Text Line Marketing and Business Services

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We are seeking a contractor to assist with the BrdsNBz Text Line System, a award-winning network of licensed services that provide medically accurate answers to sexual health questions via text message. We need a contractor who can support the operation and growth of BrdsNBz in three areas: 1) Development & Implementation of New & Current BrdsNBz Licensees; 2) BrdsNBz Business Development and Sales Support; & 3) Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Media Support.

Proposals are due March 4, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. EST. Applications should be submitted by email to Kennon Jackson.


New Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results Illustrate NC Teens' Sexual Health

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The North Carolina Department of Public Instructions (NC DPI) released the results of their 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) today. The survey asks high school and middle school students about their health behaviors and experiences. Many of the questions relate to students sexual health, wellbeing, and safety.

Below, we’ve detailed what the new YRBS data tells us about students’ sexual health. Any increases or decreases noted are the change from the 2011 survey unless otherwise noted. View the full YRBS surveys.

Quick Analysis

On balance, the results of the 2013 YRBS illustrate very positive trends. Fewer students are sexually active, and more sexually active students report using condoms. Fewer students report being bullied, raped, or experiencing intimate partner violence. The 2013 also provides more information to help educators, parents, and communities address bullying and the needs of LGBT youth. 

2013 High School Results


47.3% have ever had sexual intercourse. This represents a 10% decrease in the past 10 years, and a 7% decrease since North Carolina improved its sex education under the 2009 Healthy Youth Act. The decrease was seen for both boys and girls and in all grades.

32.1% had sexual intercourse during the past three months, a common way for researchers to define students as “currently sexually active.” This percentage also decreased.

Of currently sexually active students:

    • 60.8% used a condom during last sexual intercourse, a 13% increase since 2011.
    • 21.2% drank alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse

15.1% have had sexual intercourse with four or more people during their life, another decrease.

17.1% report that their partner was three or more years older the last time they had sexual intercourse. These numbers were much higher for female students and students in 9th grade.

4.8% have had sexual contact with both males and females during their life.


9.4% were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend during the past 12 months. This is lower than previous years, and more common in younger grades.

6.6% had sexual intercourse for the first time before the age of 13, something that correlates strongly with sexual abuse and assault.

8.9% of all students and 12.8% of girls have ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.

10.7% have ever been the victim of teasing or name calling during the past 12 months because someone thought they were gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

12.5% have been electronically bullied during the past 12 months.

59.1% have seen other students being bullied in their school during the past 12 months


73.4% say parents or other adults in their family talked with them about what they expect them to do or not to do when it comes to sex. This is higher for female students and African-American students.

6.2% – 2.2% of boys and 9.8% of girls – describe themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

19.6% who usually talk with their parent or other adult family member when they have questions about sexually transmitted diseases (STD), HIV, AIDS, or pregnancy prevention.

11.3% have ever been tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Middle School

North Carolina middle school students are given an abbreviated survey with fewer sexual health questions.

11.4% have ever had sexual intercourse.

Sex Education:

  • 78.8% of 8th graders had ever been taught about abstaining from sexual activity.
  • 91.3% of 8th graders had been taught in school about AIDS or HIV infection.
  • 66.4% of 8th graders Percent had ever been taught about chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or human papillomavirus, or genital warts.

24.9% usually talk with their parent or other adult family member when they have questions about sexually transmitted diseases (STD), HIV, AIDS, or pregnancy prevention.


  • 42.7% have ever been bullied on school property
  • 18.9% have ever been the victim of teasing or name calling during the past 12 months because someone thought they were gay, lesbian, or bisexual, a decrease since the question was first asked in 2011.
  • 19.3% have been electronically bullied.

 MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, (919) 749-7309 (mobile) or (919) 226-1880 (office)