Around the world, 5 million young people are living with HIV. And with 41 percent of new HIV infections occurring among young people, that means every 30 seconds, another young person becomes HIV-positive. The vast majority (3.8 million/76 percent) of young people living with HIV or AIDS (YPLWHA) are in sub-Saharan Africa, its not surprising because more than 2/3 of the population are young people. Where there are young people, what happens? Sex! And what happens when there’s plenty of unprotected sex with less education? The answer is an epidemic – of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV and AIDS.

Growing up Nigerian, WETIN DEY – a drama series which was part of a larger campaign called ‘STOP HIV’, funded between 2005 and early 2008 by the Department for International Development (DFID) to address HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health among Nigerian youth aged 15-24 years old. The project, delivered in partnership with the Society for Family Health (SFH) in Nigeria and the British Broadcasting Corporation, was a mass media intervention that included a broad array of mutually reinforcing outputs on radio, television, and film; this is the only time recorded when sex education was treated as it ought to.

Today, MTV’s Staying Alive initiative is determined to stop the virus before it starts, on a mission to build an empowered and educated generation of young people, equipped with the tools and knowledge to protect themselves and their peers from the HIV epidemic.

A world where no young person contracts HIV or dies from AIDS.

This is why they’re creating ground-breaking, original media content like Shuga, that delivers vital HIV and sexual and reproductive health messaging to a global audience, for free. MTV Shuga, series six, is set against the backdrop of a bustling Lagos metropolis, where we see the northern and southern communities blended together. In this explosive new season we meet a host of new characters dealing with coming of age drama. Friendships are tested, relationships reach risky heights, and secrets threaten to break family ties. Starring: Timini Egubson, Sharon Ezeamaka, Jemima Osunde, Rahama Sadau, Adebukola Oladipupo, Abayomi Alvin, and many new faces. With cameo performances from YCee. What’s the response like? Good thing; the African youth is already reacting to the new series (at least we can tell from social media engagements), with almost 100,000 subscribers on the channel and one episode raking up to 130,000 views, we pray the populace learns the art of zipping up or using a condom.


Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

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