NEW WORLD BANK STUDY REVEALS “MTV SHUGA” VIEWERS TWICE AS LIKELY TO GET TESTED FOR HIV
New York/Johannesburg, 8 June 2016: Preliminary results of an independent study by the World Bank released today has shown that “MTV Shuga”, a groundbreaking drama series produced jointly by Viacom owned MTV Base (Africa) and The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, has had a profoundly positive effect on knowledge, attitudes and behaviours 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 behaviours 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 behaviours 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.
“HIV prevention is not only a challenge for the health system, but also for the education, economic, social and cultural systems of our society. HIV has the potential to undermine our efforts to achieve improved quality basic education,” said Mrs. Angie Motshekga, South African Minister of Basic Education. “’MTV Shuga’ comes at a time when the South African Government had resolved to implement a 360-mass media behaviour change campaign on HIV Prevention and Sexuality Education Programme. We are pleased with the overwhelming support received from the MTV Stay Alive Foundation and its partners for this vision, and together we will achieve the ambitious objectives we have set ourselves as Basic Education’s contribution to a complete country response through ‘MTV Shuga.’”
Georgia Arnold, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation notes, “we’re heartened to see that the work we’re doing with ‘MTV Shuga’ is helping drive positive social change. To witness TV actually decreasing sexually transmitted infections is powerful, and MTV and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation are incredibly proud to stand behind this show that showcases TV as a vehicle for good.”
“MTV Shuga” is moving to South Africa at a time when HIV prevalence is up to 8 times higher among adolescent girls than among adolescent males (15-19 years old) in South Africa. (UNAIDS 2015). While the total number of AIDS-related deaths in all age groups fell by 35% between 2005 and 2013, AIDS-related deaths in adolescents increased by 50%. (Lancet Commission 2015)
Ambassador-at-Large Deborah Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator & U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy states, “”The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been a long-standing partner and supporter of the MTV Shuga series. We are pleased to see results from the World Bank’s impact evaluation, which show the positive influence that MTV Shuga is having on increasing HIV-related knowledge and health-seeking behaviours among young people. Using data to drive decision-making and improve program design is something that PEPFAR has long championed. Through our support of MTV Shuga 5, which is leveraging real-time polling of youth to inform the design of the next series in South Africa, we believe we can help reduce new HIV infections among young people and contribute to building the next AIDS-free generation.”
Mina Barling, Director of Strategic Programs for Marie Stopes International said, “we’re proud to support this project, which is a pioneering approach to HIV prevention that works. A deeper understanding of what makes young people choose to protect their sexual and reproductive health is critical to building health services that are safe and can meet their needs.”
Michael N.Joyner, Director of Positive Action stated, “we are pleased to partner again with MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation and to support the innovative ‘MTV Shuga’ programming. It is vital to identify and deliver practical interventions that involve young people in such an engaging way if we are to ever stop this epidemic.”
About MTV Shuga:
Pioneered in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009, “MTV Shuga” is a long-running drama series and multimedia campaign that follows the lives of young people on the African continent. Aired on MTV channels around the world, the content is also offered rights-free to 3rd party broadcasters and content platforms, and used as a teaching aid by educators, healthcare workers and grassroots HIV/AIDS organisations around the world. Over four series, the drama has crossed the continent from Kenya to Nigeria and touched on numerous plotlines relating to HIV and safe sex including HIV testing, stigma, living with HIV, mother to child transmission, transactional sex, gender based violence and condom use. “MTV Shuga” is multi-award winning, most recently winning the World Media Festival, Gold Award for Edutainment & Intermedia-Globe Grand Award (2016). It is broadcast globally on 164 broadcasters in 73 countries. In South Africa, it was the most watched drama when series 3 aired on SABC1.
To view full episodes of “MTV Shuga,” visit mtvshuga.com.
MTV is the world’s biggest youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of nearly 785 million households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. Outside of the United States, MTV is part of Viacom International Media Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all platforms.
About the World Bank’s Development Impact Evaluation Unit:
Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) in the Research Group of the World Bank evaluates the impact of World Bank projects and those of other multilateral development banks to help transform development policy, reduce extreme poverty and secure shared prosperity.