Health COMpass Spotlight: Inside the Development of an Award-winning Entertainment Education Series

The latest Health COMpass Spotlight offers a step by step look at the development of the award-winning TV series Intersexions in South Africa.

healthcompass intersextionsCombine a cast of highly talented and dedicated young performers, a plot line that rivals the steamiest soap operas, and underlying subtle messages about sexual behavior, and the result is a multi-award winning program that has touched the lives of many young adults in South Africa – Intersexions.

But there’s more to Intersexions than just a great story. As expressed by the members of the Peabody Award organization when awarding the show its highest honor: “The HIV virus itself plays a role as a seductive voice in this well-acted, candidly written program focused mostly on young, restless, high-risk adults.”

Intersexions draws us into the lives of a group young adults whose lives are busy and active – and whose sexual relationships intersect, creating a complex network of “who has slept with whom,” which is illustrated in the chart below. Many of them are strangers to one another, but they are related by their sexual connections, and by HIV, the ever-present and very real danger for all of them.intersexions graphic

As health communication professionals, we are always anxious to learn about the development of highly successful, award-winning, and critically acclaimed entertainment education products. The current Spotlight on the Health COMpass explains that process, and offers some insight into the formative research, design, implementation, and evaluation of the project.

“Intersexions is not preachy or heavy-handed; it’s basically a condensed soap opera that draws you in for 20+ episodes of interconnected storytelling that will entertain you, as well as scare you down to your nearest clinic.”

Emmanuel Akitobi, Shadow and Act August 5, 2013

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