Unitaid and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation (MTV SAF) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine announced a three-year partnership to introduce and evaluate storylines on HIV innovation, including HIV self-testing and preventive drugs (PrEP) into the award-winning drama series MTV Shuga.
The new MTV Shuga campaigns will be deployed in South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire between 2018 and 2020. Preliminary work for both countries begins this year. The South Africa season will deliver another installment of ‘MTV Shuga: Down South’ due to broadcast in the first half of 2019, followed by two seasons in Côte d’Ivoire.
MTV Shuga fuses hard-hitting storylines with sexual health messages to influence viewers’ attitudes and behaviour. The ‘edutainment’ campaign also features a radio drama that expands on MTV Shuga storylines, print, digital and social media activity, and peer education programmes that challenge stigma and obstacles to young people’s sexual health.
The campaign centres on HIV prevention and testing, preventive drugs known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV self-testing, and HIV treatment and aims to show young people how to protect themselves from the virus and to seek treatment.
HIV Prevention And Self-testing programme
The programme is designed to help millions of young viewers in French- and English-speaking Africa protects themselves from HIV. This follows recent airing of MTV Shuga Season 6 ‘MTV Shuga Naija’ on MTV Base (DStv channel 322).
The effort, unveiled during the 22nd International AIDS Conference, will span Southern Africa and Western francophone Africa and deliver three new TV series of MTV Shuga, together with a multi-media campaign that promotes sexual health. The enhanced programme will target hard-to-reach populations, particularly people 15 to 24 years old.
AIDS remains the leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds in Africa, bolstering the case for innovations and investments that place a high priority on this age group. Through the MTV Shuga campaign, Unitaid and MTV SAF will shine a spotlight on young people’s real-life concerns.
MTV Shuga is produced by MTV SAF and supported by Unitaid, a Geneva-based organisation that funds promising innovations, such as HIV self-testing, that have the potential to make fast, sweeping improvements in global health. The success of MTV Shuga in influencing the attitudes and behaviour of viewers will be evaluated by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of Unitaid commented, ‘Millions of people in Africa watch MTV Shuga. Our partnership with MTV Staying Alive gives us a terrific opportunity to reach young people who don’t have reliable health information and empower them to take charge of their health, including testing themselves for HIV.’