This Online Series About HIV-Positive Teens Hopes to Break the Stigma
Mga Batang Poz streams this July.
Mga Batang Poz is a digital series that tells the story of Filipino teenagers living with human immunodeficiency virus, a.k.a. HIV-positive or "poz." The show follows four boys from different walks of life—Chuchay, Luis, Enzo, and Gab—as they deal with their desires and sexualities and the consequences of being ill-informed.
The six-part series stars Awra Briguela, Mark Neuman, Fino Herrera, and Paolo Gumabao. It is based on a novel of the same name, which was written by Segundo Matias Jr. and published by Lampara in 2018.
"This book is not just about HIV awareness; it's about hope. Even if you have HIV, you won't die, you may continue to live and dream as long as you get tested and get proper treatment. Your only enemy is the stigma. The message of the novel is: Life goes on," Matias said earlier this year during the contract signing for the adaptation.
This was seconded by director Chris Martinez during the series' story conference in March 2019. He said that Mga Batang Poz is targeted towards young adults and that it will keep a "positive" and "hopeful" tone.
He added, "Yes, it has sex and a very daring theme, but kung titignan niyo siya ng malapitan, ito ay kuwento na pangkabataan. Hindi tayo mananakot dito, bubuwagin natin ang mga taboo, bubuwagin natin ang mga stigma. Hindi ito pananakot, ito ay actually pagbuwag sa takot ng mga tao tungkol sa usapin ng HIV."
In 2017, reports said that the Philippines' human immunodeficiency virus epidemic is already a "national emergency" and that the country's HIV infection rate grew by 140 percent from 2010 to 2016.
It's undeniable that HIV-awareness and education is a must, and it's reassuring that writers, creatives, and actors are doing their part to help us understand it better and break the stigma.
Mga Batang Poz will be available for streaming on iWant starting July 26.
Cosmo.ph. Minor edits have been made by the editors.