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PETA's UNDER MY SKIN Streaming Closes Today

There has been a ‘21% increase in new infection brought about by the decrease in HIV prevention coverage and increase in treatment gap.’ - DOH

PETA's UNDER MY SKIN Streaming Closes Today Manila, Philippines--The Philippine Educational Theater Association's HIV and AIDS advocacy play "Under My Skin," staged about two weeks shy of the first Metro Manila lockdown, was recently restaged and filmed for an online streaming version. Scripted by Rody Vera and directed by Melvin Lee, "Under My Skin," is available to watch online until today, December 5, at Ticket2Me.

This online presentation of "Under My Skin" can be viewed by audiences abroad; English subtitles are provided, too.

Inspired by real-life stories--some are Vera's closest friends--"Under My Skin" depicts the realities, triumphs, and struggles of people living with HIV while navigating a vital conversation about acceptance and tolerance. The show introduces us to several characters: Jonathan, Greg, Syd, and Mario, whose relationships are tested when Jonathan gets infected; Dino, an HIV-positive teen whose status is discovered through a contraction of tuberculosis; Mary Rose, a mother who unknowingly passed down the virus to her son after getting it from her husband; and a gay beauty parlor employee experiencing work-related discrimination, among others.

Presented as a conversation video and vignettes of people facing the disease, "Under My Skin" is anchored by a lead doctor, played by TV film veteran Cherry Pie Picache, who confidently shifts from narrating facts and figures to acting on stage with her co-actors. The online version's superimposed additional graphic effects lead your eyes to essential infographics and related video clips, which effectively aid the audience in understanding the subject matter even more.

According to PETA, now is the time to generate urgent conversations about HIV and AIDS, mainly because there has been a "21% increase in new infection brought about by the decrease in HIV prevention coverage and increase in treatment gap." (Department of Health, 2021)

Originally referred to as GRID or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, "HIV can infect anyone--males and females, straight or not, from all sectors, even security guards," which was pointed out at a recent online viewing.

"Under My Skin" cast includes Cherry Pie Picache, Eko Baquial, Gio Gahol, Mike Liwag, Jarred Jaicten, Kitsi Pagaspas, Dylan Ray Talon, Dudz Teraña, She Maala, Bene Manaois, Erold Enriquez, Jason Barcial, Joseph Madriaga, Rach Gimpes, Reggie Ondevilla, Roy Dahildahil, Gerard Dy, and Ekis Gimenez.

Neil Daza is the director of photography, whose zooming-in camera movements heightens the drama and facial expressions of the actors, which were not readily accessible in the physically staged version. Daza's handheld camera movements also add to the urgency of the show's message. In a scene where Dino and his mom attended the wake of Lemon, the camera's zooming in, and shot at a low angle, is visually affecting.

On the other hand, Vera's language is mainly unfiltered, which adds to the authenticity of the featured characters, especially during the very moment they first learned they're HIV positive.

For the infected, the most important first question is: "How do I handle this?" "Under My Skin" is an excellent go-to resource in this case.

And for the rest of society, it must be instilled repeatedly that HIV is not a life sentence. A person with HIV can manage the disease and live like everyone else.

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