January 29, 2014
This article was reported by allAfrica.
allAfrica reported on a Nigerian television show that uses drama and riveting storylines to bring HIV awareness and prevention to the youth of the country. MTV, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, and Nigeria's National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), collaborated to film the first two seasons of "Shuga," which debuted in 2009, in Kenya but decided to move the latest season to Nigeria.
"We want young people to be more aware of their behavior; using condoms, negotiating the use of condoms, getting tested," said Georgia Arnold, founder of MTV Staying Alive Foundation. Storylines include domestic violence, which creators hope will open up additional dialogues, and romantic relationships between youth as well as between a young woman and an older man. According to Arnold, who is credited for being the mastermind behind the programming, there are plans to move the storylines and sexual health messages beyond the television series to comic books, the Internet, and radio plays to reach more youth.
The show's production partners held a screening of four episodes of the series last week for Nigerian officials and dignitaries, MTV executives, as well as the US Ambassador to Nigeria. After the screening, the partners invited the audience to make comments. Suggestions given were to subtitle the show in Nigerian languages so rural viewers could understand; include episodes of the show out of the cities and suburbs to villages with inadequate education; and depict that even persons with quiet lifestyles are susceptible to the disease.