Kenya: UN Partners with MTV to Dramatize Stories of Love and HIV Infection


The United Nations and MTV are reaching out to young Kenyans to highlight that HIV is not a death sentence though a new three-part television series exploring the lives and love of a group of friends in Nairobi. "It's fast, it's furious, it's cool - and that's exactly how we filmed it," said Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Ayira, one of the lead roles in the show entitled Shuga.

Her character is a college student torn between a boyfriend her own age and an older man in the series that underscores how behaviours - including having multiple sexual partners, exploitation and alcohol abuse - can increase young people's vulnerability to HIV.

"Especially where we were doing the scenes where we were doing the HIV testing, there was a hush on the set," Ms. Nyong'o said at a panel discussion recently at the New York headquarters of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which collaborated with MTV and other partners to produce the show."It was a heavy time for us, and a lot of actors said, 'This is real. Yeah, this is real - and I need to make a change in my life.'"

UN News 9 February 2010