Three New Seasons of MTV Shuga to Promote Sexual Health in Africa

The MTV drama series Shuga is hoping to help millions of young viewers protect themselves from HIV with three new seasons of the show airing across southern Africa and Francophone west Africa. Unitaid, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine will contribute storylines on HIV self-testing, preventive drugs and related issues.

Shuga, which first aired in 2009 and starred Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, blends in-depth stories about students across English and, for the first time, French-speaking Africa with informative sexual health information, including how to stay protected from HIV and how to seek out treatment. The latest multimedia “edutainment” campaign is intended to reach previously untapped populations between the ages of 15 to 24 as AIDS remains the leading cause of death among ages 10 to 24 in Africa.

“Millions of people in Africa watch MTV Shuga,” said Lelio Marmora, executive director of Unitaid. “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.”

The series is set to debut in South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire between 2018 and 2020.

You’ll Never Have to Walk Alone: Viacom Unites With 20,000 New Yorkers for AIDS Prevention and Awareness

Sunday, May 21 was a pleasant spring morning in Manhattan’s Central Park, and Team Viacom couldn’t have asked for a better day to unite and support the 32nd Annual AIDS Walk New York.

Stationed among other top corporate walk sponsors in the so-called “gold section,” team members soaked in the warm air, secured their fundraising rewards, and chewed on their Così squagels. After a team photo, Viacom joined thousands of other jubilant walkers in a 10-kilometer march through the 843-acre park.

Team Viacom at the 2017 AIDS Walk in New York. Photo courtesy of Viacom.

AIDS Walk New York is the largest single-day AIDS fundraising event in the world. In its more than 30 years, the event has raised more than $150 million to combat HIV and AIDS (more than $3.7 million in 2017 alone). The funds raised at the event are a vital lifeline sustaining the prevention, care, and advocacy programs that the GMHC organization provides for the thousands of men, women and families affected by the diseases in the tri-state area. The proceeds also benefit dozens of other HIV/AIDS service organizations that participate as teams and raise funds through the organization’s community partnership program.

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Viacom Walks in World’s Largest AIDS Fundraising Event

by Breanna Farquharson, Viacom


Viacom’s AIDS Walk Team joined approximately 30,000 committed participants for the 28th annual AIDS Walk in New York City’s Central Park this past May.  Braving the rain showers – walkers completed the 10-kilometer walk to benefit the leading AIDS organization, GMHC and more than 40 other dynamic AIDS service organizations throughout the tri-state area.  Recently wrapping up an extended fundraising push the team raised over $19,000.   Read More

Young & HIV Positive: MTV and Dr. Drew Premiere Special on World AIDS Day

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom

In honor of World AIDS Day, MTV and Dr. Drew will premiere, “I’m Positive,” a 60-minute special about three young people who are living with HIV, on December 1st at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT, with a simulcast on MTV Tr3s. Follow Stephanie, Kelly and Otis as they document some of the struggles of living with the virus and battling stigma.

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Talking ‘Shuga’ with Georgia Arnold

by Adrianne Andang, Viacom International Media Networks

Shuga: Love, Sex, Money – Episode 3 from mtv staying alive on Vimeo.

On Feb. 14, MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation returned with Shuga: Love, Sex & Money, the second season of the highly anticipated Kenyan TV drama series with compelling HIV prevention and education messages.  With all-new twisting plots and characters, the cutting-edge series will go deeper into the lives, loves and ambitions of a group of college students whose bright lives and fabulous futures are balanced on a knife’s edge due to their love of living dangerously.

Shuga – originally launched in 2009 in Kenya and Zambia and made available rights-free to 85 third-party broadcasters in 100 countries – has earned a massive reception, reaching youth in 96 percent of the Top 50 HIV/AIDS impacted countries.  According to a John Hopkins Research conducted shortly after the launch, 80 percent of those who saw Shuga believed it changed their thinking about multiple concurrent partners, HIV testing and stigma associated with HIV.

We checked in with Georgia Arnold, senior vice president of VIMN Social Responsibility and executive director of the Staying Alive Foundation, to talk about the origins of Shuga and where the show is headed.

Adrianne Andang: Could you tell us about the show? 

Georgia Arnold: Shuga: Love, Sex & Money is the second series, and an “African Gossip Girl,” but with sexual health messaging weaved into the storyline.  It’s very much for the MTV audience – very urban, very sexy.  There’s a great soundtrack that goes with it.  The title track was actually written and performed by Nigerian artists Banky W and Wizkid, South African rapper L-Tido and Bonie – such a brilliant African band collaboration.  Shuga is airing not only in Africa, but because of the way Staying Alive works, everything is rights-cleared.  So, it will air across Kenya with all of the five major terrestrial broadcasters airing it.

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