…MTV Shuga Naija Season 6
MTV Shuga Naija is a must watch series, as it forces us to have important and overdue conversations about sex and the lack of education in this regard for young adults. Young people often overlook the dangers that come with knowing little to nothing about sex. This is how they end up finding themselves in irreversible situations such as young girls falling pregnant, young adults being infected with HIV while in others cases some finding themselves among the wrong crowd of friends that forcefully encourage them to sleep with older men for material goods.
In efforts to try and address these issues that young people find themselves in, the eleven episode series is made up of an eighteen member young adult cast that is fully dedicated to the greater good of breaking the silence that exists around the topic of sex and sexual health education.
The series touches on an array of topics such as; how HIV is contracted, how one can have a relationship with someone when they have HIV, the importance of Antiretroviral Treatment, how to use PrEP, how to go about disclosing ones HIV status, how to have safe sex, when to report sexual assault and the most frowned upon topic of all, abortion.
It is no secret that young adults are actively involved in sexual intercourse worldwide but indulge in it without worrying about the health status of the person they are sleeping with. At times they are sold into the idea of ‘It’s just this once, don’t you trust me’ while they forget that contracting HIV does not require several sexual encounters to contract it.
MTV Shuga Naija aims to teach its viewers on the importance of regularly testing for HIV because it is the only way to have a clear idea of where one stands with their health. As is evident, there is no way that people can look at the next person and tell if they are HIV positive based on mere appearances. That’s how many people tend to contract the disease unaware.
Statistics have shown that there are 36.7 million people in the world living with HIV/AIDS, 2.1 million of these are children. MTV Shuga brings these figures to the forefront in the series as a means to not scare people but to rather encourage them of the need to know their status. It is hoped that this will push young people into the right direction of living their lives the right way.
The series further reveals that young people only know the word HIV, but do not actually know what it is and the manner in which it can be spread. The cast in several episodes of season 6 reveal how HIV is spread through a number of ways such as being born with it due to their mothers being HIV positive and not having access to the medication that can prevent transmission to their child, yet others get it through exchanging blood with someone who is positive but the most common way remains through unprotected sex.
There is no cure for HIV to date, but there is medicine created for those that find themselves with the virus. The series however teaches young adults how antiretroviral treatment and the right information can be used to help an HIV infected person live a normal life. This information can be retrieved from a visit to any local health clinic as well as nearby support groups nearby.
The series also introduces the idea of PrEP which means Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is the use of anti-HIV medications to keep HIV negative people from becoming infected. This they highlight as a new form of prevention when it comes to HIV. Those who may take PrEP include HIV negative individuals who are in relationship with someone who is HIV positive, medical professionals working in close contact with people living with HIV and sex workers and others who may find it difficult to negotiate condom use.
MTV Shuga Naija tries to deal with HIV in a real and direct way. The characters in the show who live with HIV reflect the challenges people living with HIV face.
The silence around contraception is also discussed and introduces the need for young adults who engage in sex to also think about family planning. Throughout the series several talks about IUD, the pill, the implant and other female contraceptives are explained as well and how females can make use of them the right way and where they can get them from.
GBV and sexual assault are also themes of the series, often regards to be more complicated than people realise. It affects both men and women and showcases how people are forced into sex through violence. Speaking against sexual assault is encouraged during the series and people are urged not to keep quiet and suffer in silence.
The dreaded topic of all that gets people worried about speaking about it, is abortion. MTV Shuga highlights through its cast members how having unprotected sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies and how taking the wrong medication from people on the street who sell them as abortion pills can lead to death.