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MTV Shuga

Impact so far

Whilst MTV Shuga may be a fictional drama series, it is based on real issues that affect real people every day. Putting such content out to millions of viewers across the world has been proven to have a positive effect on both attitudes and behaviour, when it comes to sexual and reproductive health.

Over the previous four iterations of MTV Shuga, a succession of evaluations have confirmed a tangible impact on adolescents’ behaviours and attitudes.

Johns Hopkins University, the Population Council, the World Bank (DIME) and the University of Western Cape are some examples of the organisations that have noted MTV Shuga’s palpable impact on young people’s lives.

In particular, an evaluation carried out by the World Bank established the following findings:

  • MTV Shuga substantially increased HIV testing: Individuals who watched the show were 35% more likely to report getting tested than those who had not.
  • The actual number of people who went for a test 6 months after watching MTV Shuga was nearly twice as high as those in the control group.
  • A 58% reduction of chlamydia infection rates was seen among females who had watched MTV Shuga from the study.
  • MTV Shuga improved knowledge, attitudes & behaviours related to HIV transmission and testing.
  • Viewers were less likely to have concurrent sexual partners, and more aware to engage in safer sex with primary and non-primary sexual partners.
  • Viewers liked the TV drama and had good recall of its main messages after 6 months.

“I've always wanted to know my status but I was too scared to find out because of the fear and the stigma that is still attached to HIV...however, watching [MTV] Shuga gave me the courage to do so... It's not just a soap opera, it's educational and it has the potential to save lives”.

-MTV Shuga Viewer

In partnership with MTV Shuga

Supported by Positive Action MSM&T