iWant TV’s ‘Mga Batang POZ’ attempts to change our perception towards HIV-positive cases
A screenplay adaptation of Palanca-awardee Segundo D. Matias Jr.’s novel, iWant Originals online series Mga Batang POZ follows the lives of four teenagers entangled through Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and their plight towards achieving fair treatment from family and society.
This series directed by Chris Martinez, portrayed by the characters of Luis (Fino Herrera), Gab (Mark Neumann), Enzo (Paolo Gumabao), and Chuchay (Awra Briguela), shows personal dilemmas and the root cause of this sickness, including handling conflicts, hurtful societal treatment, and the struggle to have a positive outlook in life.
The story presents the borderless certainty about HIV-infected people and the virus itself, from how it can start with unprotected sex, and how acquiring it can lead to misjudgments. The unfair treatment and boundaries set without primarily knowing the facts on ‘Pete’ (the identity the show gave this illness, as a way of shamelessly and casually acknowledging its existence) makes the reactive person feel outcasted for their situation.
Added to the spice of the show is its realistic viewpoints from the characters who, as the story unfolds, disclosed the reasons why they keep their illness private, including the process on how they courageously stand in life with the help of their strongest foundation— family.
However, although the scenes were presented uniquely with each character’s realistic stories, the show seems to lack genuine and tasteful acting from the debuting actors, while the entire show draws to expected conclusions such as romantic and everlasting bond built among the characters after their escapade to help another Batang Poz.
Sharing the struggles of Mga Batang POZ to the public, the show attempts to call for patients to try to freely voice out their status (even within close circles), and more importantly, for society to stray from judgement. But out of all the message the show intends to tell, this one is what’s told clearest: it’s best to get tested.
According to the Department of Health, 40 people get infected with HIV daily, and about 1,172 new cases are recorded as of March 2019—among which approximately 400 cases are from ages 15-24. This significant value has been an uprising problem that concerns the health of the youth.