Lupita-Nyong’o*Moviegoers may know Lupita Nyong’o for her Oscar-winning performance in “12 Years A Slave,” but the actress was using her pre-Academy celebrity for a good cause as the star of a sexy Kenyan soap opera called “Shuga.”

According to reports, Nyong’o was involved with the series five years ago, playing “ambitious go-getter college student Ayira, who sleeps with her boss at Maverick Advertising.”

Footage of the “Shuga,” which aired in 40 African countries on MTV Base Africa and expanded to 70 stations internationally, can be seen online. Although the soap contained many steamy sex scenes, its purpose was deeper as it was actually a vehicle used to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS on the continent. The objective was most evident in Nyong’o’s character, who discovered in the first season that she might have contracted the disease.

lupita nyongo - shuga

lupita nyongo - shuga

In a 2010interview with CNN, the Oscar winner promoted “Shuga’s” mission as she noted its impact among those living with HIV/AIDS.

“I think one thing [Shuga] is trying to do is talk about how HIV and AIDS is not a death sentence,” the former Yale School of Drama student said. “[HIV] is a condition that can be managed, if one chooses to do so, if one catches it early on you can live a healthy life with HIV. I’ve been able to be an ambassador for HIV and AIDS.”

Nyong’o’s role as a UNICEF ambassador promoting HIV and AIDS education spread to the entire cast of “Shuga,” as they made a pact after their season wrapped to all get tested for HIV together.

The trailer for “Shuga” can be seen below:

To see Lupita Nyong’o’s interview with CNN, check out the video below: