This HIV-centric play is the Sex Ed class we never had

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Let’s face it, talking about sex is never easy. The mix of conservative religious beliefs and the lack of proper education has made the subject taboo. This mentality rooted in fear makes the youth vulnerable to making mistakes such as unwanted pregnancies or contracting STDs.

Luckily, organizations like the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) are making the effort to start the conversation. And they’re doing it by reaching out to mothers, school heads, and the local government in hopes to get the word out.

The Epidemic

According to the UNAIDS reports, the Philippines is the no.1 country in the world with the fastest growing HIV epidemic – which is very alarming.

The Department of Health (DOH) says that there are 35 newly diagnosed cases of HIV everyday as of June 2019 and most of them come from people aged 25-34 years.

Raising Awareness

PETA closes its 52nd Theater Season by responding to this epidemic that has long been met with silence.

They partnered up with HIV-advocacy organizations, The Red Whistle and LoveYourself to launch the Acting on HIV campaign with the play Under My Skin. The play is directed by Melvin Lee and is written by Rody Vera.

PETA Theatre

Under My Skin is an anthology of stories about Filipinos living with HIV. The narratives are gathered from their friends and relatives, HIV advocates, existing studies on HIV, doctors, and health practitioners.

The stories are varied, ranging from a teenage boy who found that he was HIV positive through a contraction of tuberculosis, to a mother that learns that she passed down the virus to her children among others.

Through this play, PETA aims to break stereotypes, debunk myths and misconceptions about the disease and its transmission. They want to make their audience aware about the importance of early detection by getting tested. And most of all, eradicate the stigma around Persons Living With HIV (PLHIV).

You can catch Under My Skin at the PETA Theatre Center in New Manila, Quezon City from February 7 – March 22, 2020. You can inquire about tickets here.

Art by Marx Fidel