Watching MTV’s ‘Shuga’ Dramatically Reduces Your Chances of Getting Chlamydia

‘MTV Shuga,’ which tracks the lives of several young people in Africa, is having a shocking impact on its viewers.

The following is an official statement from MTV Networks, shared early this morning with Digital Music News.




New York/Johannesburg, June 7, 2016:

Preliminary results of an independent study by the World Bank released today has shown that “MTVShuga,” a groundbreaking drama series produced jointly by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and MTV Base, has had a profoundly positive effect on knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of young people relating to HIV/AIDS and safe sex.  A randomized controlled trial with extensive data collections prior and six months after exposure to  the TV series, the researchers found clear evidence that “MTV Shuga” affects change among youth.  

Conducted in Nigeria (2014-2015), preliminary results of the World Bank-designed study entitled “Changing norms and behaviors through entertainment TV: Impact Evaluation of the MTV series Shuga,” will be released today as part of the UNGA HLM (High-Level Meetings) Ending AIDS.  Five thousand 18-25 year-olds from across southwest Nigeria took part in the in-depth six-month evaluation, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the

Impact Evaluation to Development Impact (i2i), a World Bank fund supported by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Topline findings show:

“MTV Shuga” substantially increased HIV testing: Individuals who watched the show were 35% more likely to report getting tested in the last six months. Immediately after the six-month data collection, twice as many viewers of “MTV Shuga” went to sexual health centers to get tested.

A 58 percent reduction of chlamydia was seen among females who had watched “MTV Shuga,” from the study. 

“MTV Shuga” improved knowledge about HIV transmission and testing.

Viewers were less likely to have concurrent sexual partners, and also engaged 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.

Victor Orozco, Principal Investigator and Economist from The World Bank Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) unit commented: “The experimental evaluation shows that ‘MTV Shuga’ directly improved knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to HIV/AIDS. The effects in several key outcomes were substantial and given the show’s global reach and low broadcast costs, ‘MTV Shuga’ can potentially alter attitudes and behaviors of millions of individuals at low marginal costs.”

A fifth season of “MTV Shuga,” starring South African actress Mohau Mokoatle, set for the first time in South Africa, is due to begin pre-production in September 2016. The latest incarnation of the series will be funded by South Africa’s Ministry of Basic Education, PEPFAR (The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), Marie Stopes International and Positive Action.





Image: MTV Networks.

2 Responses

  1. Rosie

    In a recent study conducted by the BBC, millions of genX men sought out and married large women due to listening to ACDC in their youth.

    “42-39-56. You could say she got it all!”

  2. Tim Wood

    Finally, a DMN story we can feel good about.