Online series ‘Mga Batang Poz’ promotes HIV awareness among youth
MANILA, Philippines — When Palanca-winning author Segundo Matias Jr. went to the Department of Health (DOH) to interview “poz” (HIV-positive individuals), he noticed that they wore face masks to cover their faces.
(from left to right) “Mga Batang Poz” author Segundo Matias Jr., with the cast of its series adaptation Paolo Gumabao, Mark Nuemann, Awra Briguela, Fino Herrera and director Chris Martinez. Photo by Krissy Aguilar / INQUIRER.net
“Nalaman ko na nagtatago sila because of the stigma. Ayaw nila ipakita. Dahil alam nila kung ano yung mangyayari,” Matias said Wednesday in the press conference of “Mga Batang Poz.”
Matias’ “Mga Batang Poz,” considered as the first Philippine young adult novel on HIV, becomes a digital series to school the youth on the life of HIV-positive individuals.
The six-part series takes viewers to the life of four HIV-positive who reckon with their desires and face the shame of exploring this in a society that continues to be conservative.
“I want the young people to watch it. This is really for the young people. This is not an adult film disguised in an advocacy,” director Chris Martinez said.
But more than the characters’ battle with HIV, “Mga Batang Poz” also delves on the consequences of misinformation.
“Hindi to something na malaswa, hindi to something na dapat ikahiya panoorin because this is really done for our youth. This is to save them, to inform them, to make them aware of what’s happening around them,” he said.
While the series do contain intimate and sensitive scenes, Martinez pointed out it is not something that should be seen simply as lewd because it serves its own purpose in the story.
“When you watch the series, hindi naman siya gratuitous. When you watch the series, all the sex scenes, all the love scenes, everything there has a purpose. HIV is a sexually transmitted disease. We have to show how the disease was transmitted sexually. So mahalaga yun sa series,” he added.
However, the novel and the series can only do so much, hence Matias emphasized the need for awareness on HIV to start at home.
“Importate din na sabihin ‘yung kailangan talaga magsimula sa bahay ang awareness. So habang pinapanood niyo, kung nakikita niyo ay hindi niyo pa nakikita sa iba, sana maintindihan niyo na isa itong advocacy,” Matias said.
“Mga Batang Poz,” starring Awra Briguela, Mark, Nueman, Fino Herrera and Paolo Gumabao, sees through the lives of HIV-positive — questioning what it means to live after diagnosis, managing their disease through medication and braving the judgment from society, friends and even their families.
“Mga Batang Poz” will be available for streaming on iWant starting Friday, July 26 at 9 p.m.
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