She is Shola Luna - one of the Malate's iconic figures during 80's and 90's. A model, beauty queen, make up artist, fashion designer, performer, actor and a steward of art herself. In 1994, she left United States and came back to the Philippines until she found out one of the most challenging journey in her life. She was diagnosed of HIV.
Though the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines was only during the year 1990's, the Philippines was quick to recognize its own sociocultural risks and vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS. In a country that prioritizes health, HIV/AIDS struck the heart of every Filipino. The confrontation of HIV/AIDS varies from each culture. In our country, Arts became a big part in battling HIV/AIDS.
A great way to start the month and celebrate World AIDS Day is by talking with Shola Luna, an artist, a transgender who acquired HIV in 90's. I had the opportunity to talk with a beautiful and goodhearted person. I asked her some questions about HIV/AIDS in relation with Arts. Here are the questions I asked and her responses.
Shola: Noks! Yes! I am a better person now.
Noks: Do you think arts play a key role in getting the message of HIV? How?
Shola: Arts play a great role for me to spread HIV stigma reduction education because I go out open to the public and talk about it.
Noks: If God is in front of you, what will you tell him?
Shola: If God is in front of me, hehehe, he is always with me now and we talk like we are father and daughter every single second and I always request that he protects my family and friends from harm and give them good health.
Noks: Are you scared to die?
Shola: No! I am notscared to die. Wag lang ung chakang pagkamatay!
Noks: Any other message to the readers?
Shola: To all, there are a lot of information aboout HIV and AIDS. Don'tjust read it, do it to protect yourself and your love ones. Have a loving heart and soul if you know that some is HIV positive. Stop judging! Protect yourself! Peace to all!
And but of course, a simple message for me from Shola Luna.
"Mwah Noks! God bless and Happy holidays!"